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THE AVICULTURAL 
MAGAZINE 


BEING THE JOURNAL OF THE 
AVICULTURAL SOCIETY 


EDITED BY 

PHYLLIS BARCLAY-SMITH, M.B.E. 


VOL. 70 

JANUARY, 1964, to DECEMBER, 1964 


Hertford 

STEPHEN AUSTIN & SONS, Ltd. 


1964 






CONTENTS 


Title-page ......... i 

Contents ......... iii 

List of Contributors ....... iv 

List of Plates ........ vii 

Officers for the Year 1964 ...... 1 


Officers of the Avicultural Society Past and Present . 2 


Magazine ......... 1 


Index 


23 


LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS 


ARTICLES 


Aiuto, Russell. 

Sex-linked colour inheritance in the Zebra Finch, 48. 

Boorer, W. 

Some notes on the behaviour and breeding of the Celestial Parrotlet ( Forpus 
coelestris ), 23. 

COLLARD, W. H. 

Breeding the Maroon Tanager, Rhamphocelus jacapa, 55. 

Copley, Robert A. 

Breeding Black-necked Swans, 154. 

Hooded Mergansers—rearing problems, 182. 

COTTERELL, SlR RlCHARD, 

Breeding the Vinaceous Firefinch ( Lagonosticta vinacea ), 106. 

Coupe, M. F. 

The new Tropical House at Chester Zoo, 172. 

Breeding the Red-billed Weaver ( Quelea quelea), 229. 

Cummings, W. D. 

Breeding results at Keston Foreign Bird Farm, 1963, 56. 

Cutler, J. A. 

Breeding of the Port Lincoln Parrakeet, 212. 

Delacour, J. 

In memory of David Seth-Smith, 28. 

California aviaries, 177. 

Everitt, Charles. 

Breeding the Natal Kingfisher, 15. 

Breeding the Fairy Blue Bird, 18. 

Breeding the Pale-vented Robin, 46. 

Breeding the Natal Robin, 70. 

-VBreeding the Red-winged Starling, 133. 

Breeding the Hoopoe, 163. 

Breeding the Joyful Greenbul, 170. 

The Masked Wood Swallow, 186. 

Breeding the Red-eyed Bulbul, 214. 

Breeding the Golden-crested Myna, 216. 

Fletcher, A. W. E. 

News from the Chester Zoo Bird Collection, 38. 

Forshaw, Joseph M. 

The parrots of Australia :— 

7. The Port Lincoln Parrot ( Barnadius zonarius ), 59. 

8. The Mulga Parrot ( Psephotus varius), 136. 

9. The Red-capped Parrot ( Purpureicephalus spurius), 201. 

Gewalt, Wolfgang. 

The first success in zoo-breeding Great Bustards ( Otis tarda), 218. 





LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS 


V 


Goodwin, Derek. 

Observations on the Dark Firefinch, with some comparisons with Jameson’s 
Firefinch, 80. 

Grummt, Wolfgang. 

Some notes on the breeding of the African Cattle Egret, 222. 

Hardy, John William. 

Left- and right-footedness equally prevalent in Halfmoon Parrakeets, 76. 

Harrap, K. S. 

Breeding the Natal Francolin ( Francolin natalensis ), 146. 

Harrison, C. J. O. 

Notes on the Rufous-breasted Dunnock [Prunella strophiata), 184. 

Kendall, S. B. 

Notes on my cockatoos in 1963, 26. 

Klos, Heinz-Georg. 

News from the Berlin Zoological Garden, 29, 147, 219. 

/Lint, Kenton C. 

Breeding of the Thailand Hoopoe, Upupa epops longirostris Jerdon, 119. 

Lotshaw, Robert. 

Downy Woodpeckers in captivity, 28. 

McCance, Norman. 

“ Treating ’em rough ! ”, 12. 

Pheasants at the Sydney Royal Show, 168. 

Mallet, John. 

Breeding of the Red-billed Francolin, 72. 

Meaden, Frank. 

Breeding the Waxwing (Bomhycilia garrulus) , 191. . .. 

Nielsen, Aage V. 

Breeding the Red-faced Lovebird in Denmark, 39. 

Oliver, Thomas C. 

Breeding of the Loo Choo or Lidth’s Jay, Lalocitta lidthi (Bonaparte), 212. 

Ornamental Pheasant Trust. 

Annual report, 1963, 2. 

Partridge, W. R. 

Breeding the Greater Patagonian Conure ( Cyanolyseus byroni ), 109. 

Breeding the Cayenne Seedeater (Sporophilafrontalis ), hi. 

Breeding the Magpie Starling ( Speculipastor bicolor ), 196. 

POULSEN, HELGER. 

Scaly-legs in captive birds, 69. 

Prestwich, Arthur A. 

British Aviculturists’ Club, 31, 74, 114, 223. 

News and views, 32, 74, 115, 149, 189, 225. 


VI 


LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS 




Reed, B. E. 

A near miss with a Scarlet-chested Sunbird, 166. 

Richardson, R. A. 

Liberty White-eyes in 1963, 27. 

SCAMELL, K. M. 

Breeding the Malachite Sunbird ( Nectarinia famosa ), 158. 

The breeding of the Shelley’s Starling ( Spreo shelleyi Sharpe), 198. 

Throp, Jack L. 

The Curassows—who they are, how they are kept and bred, 123. 

Vevers, Geoffrey. 

In memoriam—Cecil Stanley Webb, 173. 

Wayre, Philip. 

Californian Quail ( Callipepla californica ), 1. 

Notes from the Norfolk Wildlife Park, 10. 

Whitmore, G. E. 

Breeding the Thick-billed Green Pigeon ( Treron curvirostra) , 146. 

Wicks, Eve. 

“ Sukie ”, baby African Grey Parrot, 155. 

Yealland J. J. 

Two Wood Partridges, 14. 

The breeding of the African Cattle Egret, 21. 

London Zoo notes, 34, 73, 113, 149, 188, 225. 

Toe deformity in pheasant chicks, 38. 

The Blue Snow Chat ( Grandala coelicolor ), 79. 


CORRESPONDENCE 

Treating ’em rough, J. J. Mallet, p. 77 ; Bartlett’s Bleeding-heart 
Pigeons, J. Delacour, p. 118 ; The Port Lincoln Parrot, A. C. Hunt, 
p. 229. 






LIST OF PLATES 


* Californian Quail ...... facing page i 


Aage V. Nielsen with one of the A. pullaria youngl 

The A. pullaria family in the outdoor aviary | 55 39 

(Mousebirds behind) J 

Female Port Lincoln Parrot emerging from the 

nesting hollow ...... ,, 64 

Salmon Gum and scrub country near Balladonia, 

Western Australia : haunt of Barnardius zonarius ,, 65 

Chaffinch ( Fringilla coelebs) with scaly legs . . ,, 69 

^Blue Snow Chat ...... ,, 79 

Male Thailand Hoopoe at nesting hole offering 
insectile food to chick. Young twenty-one days 
old.„ 119 


Thailand Hoopoe chicks ( Upupa epops longirostris ). 
Age twenty-nine days, 29th May, 1964 . 

Male Hoopoe feeding smaller chick. Notice adult’s 
bill is inserted deeply into chick’s gape when bill 
is open. Young twenty-nine days old 

Mulga Parrot. Skins of birds collected from ' 
related localities in New South Wales : note the 
varying amounts of red on the abdomens 

Skins of birds collected in distantly separated 
localities : note similar amounts of red on the 
abdomens ...... 


53 


120 


3 3 


I 2 I 


: 39 


A stand of Mulga and stunted Eucalyptus near 
Cocklebiddy, W. A. : haunt of the Mulga Parrot 

Female Mulga Parrot ( Psephotus varius) at the 
nesting hollow ...... 

African Grey Parrot chick fifty-four days old. 
Perching ...... 

African Grey Parrot chick when six months old. 
Shows eye fully pearled .... 


142 

J 43 

155 


* Denotes a coloured plate. 






LIST OF PLATES 


viii 

The new Tropical House at Chester Zoo . . facing page 172 

Cecil Stanley Webb—Whipsnade, 1952 . . „ 173 

A Waxwing pair at a feeding tray, one bird fluffed 
in partial display while the other looks expect¬ 
antly for an offering . . . . . „ 191 

Here one member of a pair approaches another' 
with an object for the gift-passing ceremony. 

5 ? r 94 

The waxwing on the left is in the inflated display 
posture with head turned away 

Magpie Starlings ( Speculipastor bicolor) , August, 

1964. Bred by W. R. Partridge . . . „ 196 

A stand of Marri (. Eucalyptus calophylla) in cultivated 
farmland near Busselton, Western Australia : 
haunt of the Red-capped Parrot . . . ,, 204 

Adult Red-capped Parrot approaches the nesting 

hollow ....... ,, 208 

Adult male Purpureicephalus spurius leaves the nest ,, 209 

Great Bustard cock in full display in the West 

Berlin Zoo . . . . . . . ,, 218 

A Great Bustard chick, born in the West Berlin 

Zoo, three weeks old . . . . . „ 219 

Heron aviary in Tierpark, Berlin . . . ,, 222 

British Aviculturists’ Club Dinner, 14th September, 

1964.. 22 3 





AVICULTURAL 
, r< MAGAZINE 


CONTENTS 


Californian Quail ( Callipepla californica) (with coloured plate), by Philip Wayre 
Ornamental Pheasant Trust—Annual Report, 1963 
Notes from the Norfolk Wildlife Park, by Philip Wayre 
“ Treating ’em Rough ! ” by Norman McCance 
Two Wood Partridges, byj. J. Yealland . 

Breeding the Natal Kingfisher, by Charles Everitt . 

Breeding the Fairy Blue Bird, by Charles Everitt 
The Breeding of the African Cattle Egret, by J. J. Yealland 
Some Notes on the Behaviour and Breeding of the Celestial Parrotlet ( Forpus 
coelestris ), by W. Boorer ....... 

Notes on My Cockatoos in 1963, by Dr. S. B. Kendall 
Liberty White-eyes in 1963, by R. A. Richardson 
In Memory of David Seth-Smith ...... 

Downy Woodpeckers in Captivity, by Robert Lotshaw 
News from the Berlin Zoological Garden, by Dr. Heinz-Georg Klos 
Council Meeting .... 

British Aviculturists’ Club 
News and Views .... 

London Zoo Notes, by J. J. Yealland 
Reviews . . . 

Notes . . . 


OL. 70 No. 1 


PRICE 7/6 


JANUARY-FEBRUARY 

1964 

















THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY 

Founded 1894 

President: Miss E. Maud Knobel. 

Hon. Secretary and Treasurer: A. A. Prestwich, Galley’s Wood, 
Nr. Edenbridge, Kent. 

Assistant Secretary : Miss Kay Bonner. 

Membership Subscription is £2 per annum, due on 1st January each year, and 
payable in advance. Life Membership £25. Subscriptions, Change of Address, 
Names of Candidates for Membership, etc., should be sent to the Hon. Secretary. 


THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA 

Hon. President : Mr. Jean Delacour. 

President: Mr. A. N. Lopez. 

Secretary: Mr. David West, 209 N. 18 th Street, Montebello, California, U.S.A. ; 

The annual dues of the Society are $4.00 per year, payable in advance. The 
Society year begins 1st January, but new members may be admitted at any time. 
Members receive a monthly bulletin. Correspondence regarding membership, etc., 
should be directed to the Secretary. 

. 

THE AVICULTURAL MAGAZINE 

The Magazine is published bi-monthly, and sent free to all members of the 
Avicultural Society. Members joining at any time during the year are entitled to the 
back numbers for the current year on the payment of subscription. All matter for 
publication in the Magazine should be addressed to :— 

The Editor: Miss Phyllis Barclay-Smith, 51 Warwick Avenue, London, 
W. 9. Telephone : Cunningham 3006. 

The price of the Magazine to non-members is 7 s. 6d., post free, per copy, or £2 5 s. 
for the year. Orders for the Magazine, extra copies and back numbers (from 1917) 
should be sent to the publishers, Stephen Austin & Sons, Ltd., Gaxton Hill, Ware 
Road, Hertford, England. Telephone : Hertford 2352/3/4. 












Avicult. Mag. 



Californian Quail 







Avicultural Magazine 

THE JOURNAL OF THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY 


Vol. 70.—No. 1 ,—All rights reserved. JANUARY-FEBRUARY, 1964 


CALIFORNIAN QUAIL 

(Callipepla californica) 

By Philip Wayre (Great Witchingham, Norfolk, England) 

This quail has done exceptionally well in captivity and is therefore 
the best known of its group, which includes the Plumed or Mountain 
Quail {Callipepla picta), Gambel’s Quail [Callipepla gambeli), Douglas’s 
Quail ( Callipepla douglasi), Scaled Quail ( Callipepla squamata), and 
Banded Quail [Callipepla fasciata). All these species are found in the 
western United States and in Mexico. 

While the range of the Californian Quail extends, as its name 
suggests, over most of California, it is such a popular game bird that 
it has been introduced into many other parts of the United States, 
New Zealand, and Chile. It is a bird of arid country, living in the 
valleys and on the lower slopes of mountains wherever there is sufficient 
vegetation. 

The most attractive feature of this bird is the male’s headdress of 
long black spatulate feathers hanging forward like the plumes on some 
old-fashioned military helmets. Its voice is also quite attractive and 
varies from a quiet clicking sound like two small pebbles being tapped 
together to a loud whistle of three syllables, something like “ let me in ”, 
repeated frequently. 

These birds thrive in captivity provided they are kept dry and free 
from draughts. They hate damp ground and need a warm shelter in 
winter. Unlike most quail they are fond of perching quite high off the 
ground, especially to roost at night, and several perches should there¬ 
fore be provided in their quarters. It is unlikely that this quail would 
survive our winters if turned down and even less likely that it would 
successfully rear its chicks in our wet climate. 

The hens lay large clutches of eggs which are relatively pointed and 
attractively coloured, being a rich mottled brown. Quite often they 
fail to rear their chicks in captivity and it has been found best in the 
Trust’s collection to collect all the eggs and hatch them in a still-air 
incubator. They are not difficult to hatch and the tiny young are then 
removed to a “ Cotswold ” type partridge brooder in which heat is 







2 


ORNAMENTAL PHEASANT TRUST-ANNUAL REPORT 


provided by an electrical rubber pad under which there is just 
room for the chicks to creep so that the warm pad is actually 
touching their backs. It must be raised as the chicks grow. 

They thrive on a diet of very small pheasant starter crumbs with a 
little grated yolk of hard-boiled egg and finely-chopped lettuce for the 
first few days. If the crumbs seem too large to start with they can 
easily be ground smaller by rubbing between two ordinary bricks. 
Breeding birds do well on a similar diet of crumbs with a little millet 
and canary seed fed several times per week. 

* ❖ * 

ORNAMENTAL PHEASANT TRUST 
ANNUAL REPORT, 1963 
LIST OF OFFICERS 


President 

Jean Delagour 
Vice-Presidents 

The Lord Walsingham, D.S.O. 

A. A. Prestwich 

Hon. Vice-President 
Professor Alessandro Ghigi 

Trustees 

The Rt. Hon. The Viscount Chaplin 
Philip Wayre 


Hon. Treasurer 
R. Q,. Gurney 

Hon. Director 
Philip Wayre 


Hon. Secretary 
J. J. Yealland 


Council 


Miss P. Barclay-Smith, M.B.E. 
Miss K. Bonner 

Dr. J. G. Harrison, M.A., M.B. 
Dr. Edward Hindle, F.R.S. 

F. E. B. Johnson 


Gordon Jolly, M.R.C.O.G. 

Terry F. Jones 
G. S. Mottershead 
Professor Charles Sibley 
Newton R. Steel 



ORNAMENTAL PHEASANT TRUST-ANNUAL REPORT 


3 


REPORT OF THE COUNCIL, 1963 

Most members will already have heard with sorrow of the death of 
David Seth-Smith last November at the age of eighty-nine. He was 
one of our founder Trustees and until recently had always taken the 
chair at meetings of Council. His guidance and advice during the 
formation of the Trust was invaluable and when he was no longer able 
to attend meetings he was missed by everyone. 

Since its formation four years ago the Trust’s work has been 
hampered by the difficulty of obtaining quarantine quarters for birds 
it wished to import. Various zoos have generously provided these 
facilities from time to time but very often their quarters are full of their 
own importations. It is thus very gratifying to be able to report that 
as a result of strenuous efforts by Lord Bessborough, the Ministry of 
Agriculture has agreed in principle to the Trust having its own 
quarantine station subject to certain conditions. 

It is hoped that a suitable site will be found within the city of 
Norwich and that building will be started during 1964. Your Council 
is extremely grateful to Lord Bessborough for all the trouble he took 
to present the Trust’s case so successfully. 

The erection of quite a small wooden building, with the necessary 
services in the form of light and water, will cost a considerable sum 
and Council will be most grateful to any member who is willing to 
contribute towards this expense. It is hoped that it will be possible 
to quarantine birds for members so long as the number of requests for 
this service does not become excessive. 

In January a firm of local millers applied to the Norfolk County 
Council for planning permission to build a large concrete mill, with 
a tower 70 feet high, at the top of the hill overlooking the Trust and 
the Norfolk Wildlife Park. This proposal was turned down by the 
Rural District Council and planning permission was refused by the 
County Council. 

The applicants appealed to the Minister of Housing and Local 
Government, who ordered a public inquiry to be held in East Dereham 
on 18th September. 

During the proceedings the Hon. Secretary wrote to the Minister 
setting out the Trust’s reasons for objecting to the scheme. Most helpful 
letters supporting our objection were sent to the Minister by a number 
of national bodies including the Avicultural Society, the World Wild¬ 
life Fund, the Council for Nature, the International Council for Bird 
Preservation, the Zoological Society of London, and a number of 
private individuals. Council is most grateful to all who rallied in 
support of the Trust, which was represented at the public inquiry by 
the Hon. Director and by Mr. Nigel Bridge who is recognized as the 
leading Counsel in planning matters. 



4 


ORNAMENTAL PHEASANT TRUST-ANNUAL REPORT 


The Minister has recently made known his decision to dismiss the 
applicants’ appeal and in his report the Inspector said his recom¬ 
mendation was strongly reinforced by the presence of the Ornamental 
Pheasant Trust and the Norfolk Wildlife Park close to the appeal site. 

On 30th May, Professor Bennet-Clarke, Dean of the Biological 
Faculty of the University of East Anglia, lunched at the Trust and 
discussed the possibility of co-operation between University and Trust 
in research. He felt the University would be pleased to make use of 
the facilities which the Trust could provide and hoped that both 
bodies would benefit from the association. 

On 17th July some twenty members of the Avicultural Society 
visited the collection as guests of the Hon. Director and Mrs. Wayre. 
Having looked round the Norfolk Wildlife Park they were entertained 
to tea and to sherry in the evening after being shown round the 
Trust’s breeding pens and rearing lawn by the Hon. Director. 

Negotiations continue for the return of a number of Swinhoe’s 
Pheasants, bred in the collection, to Taiwan where they are to be 
released to reinforce the depleted wild stock of this species. The 
Taiwan authorities have now intimated that they are considering the 
creation of a National Park or Reserve in which the birds will be 
released and have asked that in the meantime they may remain in the 
Trust’s care. 

The joint co-ordinating committee of the World Wildlife Fund/ ] 
International Union for the Conservation of Nature/International 
Council for Bird Preservation has written an “ influence letter ” of 
encouragement and support to the Taiwan authorities in favour of the 
Trust’s project. 

It is hoped that when the birds are finally shipped the World 
Wildlife Fund will be able to contribute towards the cost of the air 
freight. 

On 24th September, a party was given in London by Mr. Norman 
Collins, Chairman of Associated Television, in honour of H.R.H. The 
Prince of the Netherlands. The Hon. Director and Mrs. Wayre met 
Prince Bernhard, who is President of the World Wildlife Fund, and 
were pleased to find that both he and his aide , Colonel Geertsema, were 
very interested in the Trust’s work and the Prince expressed a wish to 
visit the collection one day. 

The Trust has been informed by Messrs. J. Rank, producers of 
Blue Cross Poultry Foods, that as from April, 1964, they will no longer 
be able to continue their annual grant of ^300-worth of free feeding 
stuffs in return for the display of their advertising boards. This will 
be a substantial blow to the Trust’s income, especially as the cost of 
feeding the Trust’s birds far exceeds this figure. 

Once again, at the request of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural 
Association, a Wildlife Exhibit was staged at the Royal Norfolk Show 



ORNAMENTAL PHEASANT TRUST-ANNUAL REPORT 


5 


on 26th and 27th June. Although this exhibit was primarily the 
concern of the Norfolk Wildlife Park, a section was devoted to a display 
from the Trust and included Himalayan Monal, Silver and Yellow 
Golden Pheasants. In addition, the Trust’s literature was available 
and 2,000 leaflets were distributed. 

The President, M. Jean Delacour, visited Great Witchingham on 
10th June and once again showed his interest in the Trust’s work and 
put forward many helpful suggestions. 

Mr. R. E. Moreau, President of the British Ornithologists’ Union, 
is continuing his research into the taxonomic relationship between 
Common Quail (Coturnix c. coturnix) and Japanese Quail (Coturnix c. 
japonica ). As part of this work the Trust has successfully bred thirty-five 
j hybrids of these sub-species, some Common X Japanese and some 
Japanese X Common Quail. In addition, a number of recordings of 
Quail calls were made by the Hon. Director for Mr. Moreau. 

During the past eighteen months the general public has taken a far 
greater interest in Ornamental Pheasants than hitherto. This trend 
has resulted in a large increase in the number of inquiries received by 
the Trust. Most of them have been from people wishing to buy birds 
for their private collections and it seems a pity that generally speaking 
only half a dozen species are regularly offered by breeders, out of a 
total of 150 forms known to science. 

It is hoped that this enthusiasm will result in much larger numbers 
of some of the rarer pheasants being bred in captivity, for only by this 
means will the rare ones be saved from extinction in the long run. 
It is not enough that they should be bred only in the Trust’s collection 
and for this reason it has always been the Council’s aim to sell surplus 
young stock to members as soon as a reasonably safe nucleus of 
breeding birds has been built up. This year, for the first time, the 
Trust has been in a position to dispose of a few pairs of such species 
as Koklass and Blue Eared Pheasants and Tonkinese Red Jungle Fowl 
to members. 

It is understandable, though unfortunate, that most breeders desire 
to acquire a collection composed of as many species as possible. This 
is the natural inclination of the collector rather than the breeder and 
in most instances little or no breeding success is achieved. Such 
collections are expensive to maintain and derive little in return from 
the sale of young stock. It is to be hoped that more pheasant collectors 
will become pheasant breeders, specializing in two or three of the rarer 
forms. When it is remembered that ten breeding pairs of one species 
is generally assumed to be the minimum safe breeding nucleus, it will 
be appreciated that even this number of species involves the keeping 
of quite a large number of breeding birds. If only this could be 
achieved breeders would be making a really valuable contribution 
towards saving rare pheasants from extinction. 




6 


ORNAMENTAL PHEASANT TRUST-ANNUAL REPORT 


In this connection the Trust will continue to concentrate on building 
up numbers of those species at present scarce in captivity. As each 
becomes established a nucleus will be maintained and emphasis laid 
on the next form to be increased. 


The Collection 


At the time of writing this report the Trust has sixty breeding pens 
containing pairs or trios of pheasants, and this number does not include 
odd birds, nor pairs of partridge, francolin, quail, etc. Of the sixty 
breeding pens, thirteen contain species common in captivity, Silver, 
Reeves’s, Golden (including yellow mutation), and Lady Amherst’s 
pheasants. 

The Trust’s collection now consists of 387 birds of forty-six forms 
excluding mutations. The following is a list of birds in the collection 
at 1 st December, 1963 :— 

M. F. Total 


Satyr Tragopan (Tragopan satyr a) . .... 

Temminck’s Tragopan (Tragopan temmincki) . 

Cabot’s Tragopan (Tragopan caboti) .... 
Common Koklass (.Pucrasia m. macrolopha ) 

Himalayan Monal (Lophophorus impeyanus ) 

Tonkinese Red Junglefowl (Gallus g. jabouillei) 

Sonnerat’s Junglefowl (Gallus sonnerati ) .... 
Black-breasted Kalij (Lophura leucomelana lathami) 

Silver Pheasant (.Lophura n. nycthemera) .... 
Edwards’s Pheasant (.Lophura edwardsi) .... 
Swinhoe’s Pheasant (Lophura swinhoei) .... 

Lesser Bornean Crested Fireback (Lophura i. ignita) . 

Greater Bornean Crested Fireback (Lophura ignita nobilis ) . 
Vieillot’s Crested Fireback (Lophura ignita rufa) 

Szechuan White Eared Pheasant (Crossoptilon c. crossoptilon) 
Brown Eared Pheasant (Crossoptilon mantchuricum) 

Blue Eared Pheasant (Crossoptilon auritum) 

Elliot’s Pheasant (Syrmaticus ellioti) .... 

Mikado Pheasant (Syrmaticus mikado) .... 

Hume’s Bar-tailed Pheasant (Syrmaticus h. humiae) . 
Scintillating Copper Pheasant (Syrmaticus soemmerringi scintillans ) 
Reeves’s Pheasant (Syrmaticus reevesi) .... 

Southern Caucasus Pheasant (Phasianus c. colchicus) . 

Kirghiz Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus mongolicus) 

Golden Pheasant (Chrysolophus pictus) .... 

,, ,, yellow mutation .... 

Lady Amherst’s Pheasant (Chrysolophus amherstiae) . 

Bornean Great Argus (Argusianus argus grayi ) . 

Indian Peafowl (Pam cristatus) ..... 
Black-shouldered Peafowl (Pavo cristatus var .) . 

Indo-Chinese Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus imperator) 

Malay Peacock Pheasant (Polyplectron bicalcaratum) . 

Palawan Peacock Pheasant (Polyplectron emphanum ) . 

Chinese Francolin (Francolinus p. pintadeanus) . 

Chinese Bamboo Partridge (Bambusicola t. thoracica) 

Stone Partridge (Ptilopachus petrosus) .... 
Red-legged Partridge (Alectoris rufa) .... 
Himalayan Chukor (Alectoris graeca chukar) 

Painted Spurfowl (Galloperdix lunulata) .... 

Rock Partridge (Alectoris graeca Cypriotes) 


I 

1 

2 

4 

7 

11 

1 

4 

5 

7 

8 

15 

3 

0 

3 

2 

6 

8 

1 

1 

2 

1 

1 

2 

28 

14 

42 

3 

2 

5 

W 

15 

32 

-—• 

2 

2 

1 

2 

3 

1 

1 

2 

— 

1 

1 

1 

1 

2 

5 

5 

10 

6 

7 

13 

3 

3 

6 

1 

1 

2 

2 

0 

2 

12 

6 

18 

1 

1 

2 

1 

1 

2 

12 

3 

15 

5 

8 

13 

9 

5 

14 

1 

1 

2 

9 

12 

21 

1 

0 

1 

—■ 

1 

1 

1 

0 

1 

1 

2 

3 

1 

0 

1 

2 

0 

2 

1 

0 

1 

2 

2 

4 

1 

0 

1 

1 

0 

1 

2 

3 

5 









ORNAMENTAL PHEASANT TRUST-ANNUAL REPORT 


7 


Indian Grey Partridge (Francolinus pondicerianus ) 
Californian Crested Quail (.Lophortyx californica) 

Scaled Quail (Callipepla squamata) 

Bobwhite Quail (Colinus virginianus ) 

Ferruginous Wood Partridge (Caloperdix oculea ) 
Common Quail (Coturnix c. coturnix) 

Japanese Quail {Coturnix c.japonica) 

Grey Francolin (Pternistis afer swynnertoni) 

Hybrid Quail (Coturnix c. coturnix X Coturnix c. japonica) 


M. 

F. 

Total 

1 

0 

1 

28 

20 

48 

1 

1 

2 

10 

10 

20 

1 

1 

2 

2 

2 

4 

2 

2 

4 

1 

0 

1 

19 

16 

35 


A total of 340 young birds of seventeen species was bred in the 
collection this year. This is the best result so far achieved and much 
of the credit must go to Roy Grout of the Norfolk Wildlife Park, who, 
through his keenness and enthusiasm, successfully reared this number. 

Infertility continues to be the greatest single problem in building up 
numbers of many species, and it is always most prevalent in birds bred 
from many generations of captive stock. Perhaps the greatest achieve¬ 
ment this year was the breeding of two young Mikado Pheasants from 
the wild-caught hen sent direct from Taiwan last year and generously 
donated to the Trust by Mr. John Swain. Both young birds appear to 
be females and with any luck should help to re-establish this rare 
species which is so close to extinction in the wild. 

As will be seen from the analysis which follows, both Common 
Koklass and Blue Eared pheasants bred well. The former looks like 
becoming established in Britain for the first time, and it will be 
remembered that it was only two years ago that the Trust bred the 
first Common Koklass in this country. 

The wild-caught imported Tonkinese Red Junglefowl have settled 
down and bred successfully, producing twelve young this year. Since 
virtually all the other Red Junglefowl in captivity in this country are 
impure, this success will help to establish a pure strain. 

For the third year running three Cabot’s Tragopan were reared 
from the original pair sent by Dr. K. C. Searle and once again all 
appear to be hens. Cyprus Rock Partridge bred in the collection for 
the first time. These handsome birds are similar to French Partridges 
only larger and more brightly coloured. It is essential to provide these 
birds with rocks and stones in their pen to prevent excessive growth 
of the upper mandible. 

The hatching of the Trust’s eggs has been greatly facilitated due to 
the construction by the Norfolk Wildlife Park of a large range of broody 
nest-boxes and feeding cages which are entirely under cover. This 
arrangement has proved very successful and labour-saving. Apart from 
anything else both the staff and the birds remain dry in wet weather. 

Samples of egg white from infertile eggs have again been sent to 
Cornell University, U.S.A., to help Professor Sibley in his research into 
the taxonomic relationship of birds by means of electrophoresis of 
egg-white protein. 






8 


ORNAMENTAL PHEASANT TRUST-ANNUAL REPORT 


Infertile eggs, chicks which had suffered early mortality, and one or 
two adult carcasses were again sent to the British Museum (Natural 


History). 


Breeding Analysis, 1963 
Eggs, 

Temminck’s Tragopan . . . . 19 

Hatched. 

8 

Reared. 

5 


Cabot’s Tragopan 



4 

3 

3 


Common Koklass 



27 

19 

17 


Tonkinese Red Junglefowl 



19 

15 

12 


Silver Pheasant 



63 

44 

40 


Swinhoe’s Pheasant . 



38 

16 

16 


Greater Bornean Crested Fireback 



2 

0 

0 


Brown Eared Pheasant 



8 

1 

0 (Deformed 

Elliot’s Pheasant 



44 

8 

3 

feet) 

Mikado Pheasant—wild caught 



8 

3 

2 


,, ,, original stock 



3 

0 

0 


Reeves’s Pheasant 



52 

3 i 

27 


Golden Pheasant 



14 

8 

8 


,, ,, yellow mutation 



30 

l 5 

12 


Lady Amherst’s Pheasant . 



33 

19 

17 


Indian Peafowl 



18 

13 

!3 


Indo-Chinese Green Peafowl 



10 

0 

0 


Cyprus Rock Partridge 



16 

3 

3 


Red-legged Partridge 



9 

8 

6 


Californian Crested Quail .... 43 

Bobwhite Quail ..... 59 

Hybrid Quail ...... 35 

Total ..... 340 

Acknowledgments 

Council is most grateful to the following individuals and bodies who 


have helped the Trust during the year :— 

Dr. Arthur Jennings, of the School of Veterinary Medicine, Cam¬ 
bridge, for continuing to conduct post-mortem examinations and 
diagnosis of disease. 

Mr. W. H. Barrow for preparing skins of the Trust’s birds. 

Mr. John Wood for veterinary advice. 

Mr. Ben Stimpson for placing his office duplicating equipment at 
the Trust’s disposal. 

Mr. R. Stainsby for the loan of an adult male Brown Eared Pheasant 
for breeding purposes. 

Dr. Clayton, of the Institute of Animal Genetics, Edinburgh, for 
presenting two pairs of Japanese Quail. 

Dr. K. C. Searle for purchasing birds in Hong Kong on behalf of 
the Trust and arranging packing and air shipment. 

Mr. Legge, of Belle Vue Zoo, Manchester, for kindly arranging to 
quarantine birds for the Trust. 

Importations 

A total of seven birds was imported during the past year :— 

M. F. 


Palawan Peacock Pheasants 
Chinese Francolin 
Chinese Bamboo Partridge 


2 

1 

2 


P. L. W. 








ORNAMENTAL PHEASANT TRUST—ANNUAL REPORT, 1963 


ORNAMENTAL PHEASANT TRUST-ANNUAL REPORT 


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10 


ORNAMENTAL PHEASANT TRUST-ANNUAL REPORT 


NOTES FROM THE NORFOLK WILDLIFE PARK 

By Philip Wayre 

Despite rather a wet summer this year over 63,000 people visited 
the Park during the first twelve months it was open. As members 
of the Ornamental Pheasant Trust will know, a representative selection 
of the Trust’s breeding birds is on show within the Park in twenty-nine 
large pens, many of which are planted with shrubs appropriate to the 
part of the world from which the birds themselves originate. 

The recently constructed pheasant lawn is beginning to appeal to 
visitors, who are able to wander freely amongst a mixed collection 
of nearly a hundred cock pheasants of nine species. When all are in 
full plumage the riot of colour is sensational, more especially as the 
whole enclosure has been attractively planted with flowering trees and 
shrubs. An area has been separated by rustic rails at each end, thus 
providing two refuges for the birds where they can get away from people 
and where they are fed and watered. 

Over 170 ducks and geese of twenty-nine forms were bred in the 
Park during the year. A number of geese have been left full-winged, 
including Grey Lag, Blue Snow, and Barnacle ; the sight of them 
flying round is a source of constant pleasure to visitors. Unfortunately 
the Grey Lag may have to be caught up and feather-clipped before next 
breeding season as they are inclined to attack other breeding pairs. 

A new innovation is the wader pool, which is currently being im¬ 
proved in the light of experience. This is a smallish enclosure made to 
represent a pool in the sand-dunes of the north Norfolk coast. Artificial 
dunes have been planted with Sea Lyme Grass (Elymus arenarius) which 
was brought from the coast. This looks rather like Marram-grass 
(Psamma arenaria) but, unlike the latter, it will grow in stable soil. 
Tree Lupin (Lupinus arboreus) and Sea-buckthorn (.Hippophae rhamnoides ) 
have been planted round the edges, while a shingle spit of beach 
shingle and scattered oyster and mussel shells complete the effect. The 
waders in the enclosure are all pinioned and include Common and 
Stone Curlew, Oyster-catcher, Green Plover, and Redshank. Pairs of 
Common Shelduck and Wigeon share the pool and artificial burrows 
have been constructed in the dunes for the Shelduck. When completed 
the public will be able to walk through the enclosure and will be 
separated from the birds by a single rail. It is hoped that some of the 
waders will breed freely under these conditions ; courtship display has 
already been observed in Stone Curlew and Oyster-catchers. 

It is part of our policy to display both birds and mammals whenever 
possible in surroundings similar to their natural habitat. Not only 
is the result far more pleasing from the aesthetic sense, but it has far 
greater educational value. 









PHILIP WAYRE-NOTES FROM THE NORFOLK WILDLIFE PARK I I 

Next to the wader enclosure is a small shallow lagoon planted with 
shrubs and reeds (Phragmites sp.) The Pool has been clayed to provide 
nesting material for the Flamingos which share the enclosure with 
Spoonbills. For the latter a fallen bough at the edge of the water 
provides natural perching space. The birds are, of course, pinioned. 

Perhaps one of our most popular exhibits is the walk-through 
aviary. A darkened porch at each end gives access to the wide gravel 
path running down the centre of the enclosure. The whole area 
inside has been landscaped, two rocky pools made, and banks of 
rhododendrons and other shrubs planted. The effect is a most attrac¬ 
tive wild garden in which many kinds of British birds fly freely. 
During the summer over twenty species were exhibited in this way and 
it was interesting to hear the comments of people who, unfamiliar with 
our native birds, were able to see such species as Goldfinches, Bull¬ 
finches, and Redstarts at really close quarters yet virtually unconfined. 

It is unlikely that successful breeding will take place in such a mixed 
collection but a number of planted aviaries have been built nearby for 
individual pairs of British and European birds. 

Both Eagle-Owls and Snowy Owls made attempts at breeding. 
The Snowy Owls laid four eggs, the first on Whit Sunday in a shallow 
scrape against the wire of the outside flight of their aviary. A screen 
of wattle hurdles was hastily erected to shield the nest from the 
public but the owl chose to lay the rest of her clutch in a dark corner 
inside the shelter. Soon after hatching the owlets disappeared and were 
apparently eaten by the female. 

Little Owls laid eggs which were infertile, so perhaps they are not a 
true pair. 

Two nesting platforms were built for the White Storks, one only 
4 feet high and the other 12 feet high, both reached by rough ladders. 
Although the birds are pinioned one pair took possession of the 
highest platform and were frequently seen displaying with much bill 
clappering. 

While our policy is to exhibit British and European birds and 
mammals, a number of foreign species are also kept. Liberty Macaws 
with headquarters in a fallen tree are always a draw, as are a mixed 
colony of Laughing Thrushes in a large planted aviary and a pair of 
Rheas bred at Frankfurt Zoo and now sharing a large enclosure with 
Cereopsis Geese and wallabies. 

The parrakeets have not had a successful breeding season ; all four 
pairs of Pennant’s laid and one pair reared their four young to within a 
week or so of fledging, when they were suddenly found dead in the nest 
for no apparent reason. The Stanley’s managed to rear a solitary 
youngster. 

Our bird of prey collection has recently been increased by the 
arrival of a fine pair of Booted Eagles and a Griffon Vulture from 


12 


ORNAMENTAL PHEASANT TRUST-ANNUAL REPORT 


Spain. The latter is exceptionally blonde for a Griffon and for some 
reason was promptly christened Mandy by our staff ! 

The tame birds of prey are put out on their blocks on the hawk lawn 
during the daytime ; all are trained to fly loose and the Bateleur Eagle 
is often flown in the Park itself. She is the best performer of all the 
eagles and in warm weather will soar to a height of several hundred 
feet over the heads of visitors before stooping to land on the lure. 
Unfortunately Bokhara, the male Golden Eagle, has to be flown out¬ 
side the Park owing to his habit of attacking the pinioned waterfowl ! 

Over twenty-five nest-boxes for small birds and three for owls have 
been put up in the Park. During the summer they were occupied by 
Tawny Owls (one pair), Great Tits (one pair), Blue Tits (two pairs). 
Tree Sparrow (one pair), House Sparrow (two pairs), and Pied Wag¬ 
tail (one pair). 

* * * 

“ TREATING ’EM ROUGH !” 

By Norman McCange (Avonsleigh, Victoria, Australia) 

Here on a mountain ridge 35 miles east of Melbourne, in a very 
beautiful and secluded setting, I read in the Avicultural Magazine 
of Jan.-Feb., 1962, about Mr. and Mrs. Milligan’s “ Methods of 
Keeping Pheasants ”. These aroused my indignation and general 
displeasure, goading me to this protest. 

Their “ methods ” are not only based on a vast amount of quite 
unnecessary hard labour, but are calculated to deter, discourage, and 
dissuade all who, as novices, contemplate keeping pheasants. That is 
the burden of my complaint. 

A good man and his wife worked seventy hours or more a week for 
two months annually. Their standards of hygiene were ridiculous. 
They scrubbed, or had scrubbed, every food and water-pot first thing 
every morning. They cleared away droppings each day. They picked 
up uneaten food each evening. They kept sixty-odd aviaries ready 
for royal inspection. Was all this bother and fuss and scrubbing and 
sweeping necessary ? 

It was not ! It made what in Australia we would call “ dam’ hard 
yakker ” out of the pleasant routine of pheasant-keeping. So far from 
the birds being all the better for this fussing and botheration, they 
probably held indignation meetings about it. Especially about the 
introduction of a rotoscythe into their homes ! 

Single-handed, for thirty years, I have maintained, for fun and 
fancy, not for profit, quite successfully up to forty-five aviaries. I treat 
the pheasants with the respect due to royal birds and interfere as little 
as possible with their privacy. My best advertisement for “ treating 






NORMAN MCGANCE-“ TREATING ’EM ROUGH ! ” 13 

’em rough ” is their astonishing longevity and complete freedom from 
disease. 

The star attraction of the collection is my twenty-two year old Lady 
Amherst’s cock about to become a father once again, to judge by his 
enthusiastic display. I went into his aviary the other day and said : 
“ Move over ! The Milligans in England say your pen should be 
cleaned daily and it has not been swept or raked for nigh on twenty 
years !” 

I do not pick up food after it is distributed. I throw upon the ground 
each morning a handful of warm mash at just that degree of moisture 
which makes it crumble and spread as it hits the earth. Wheat in the 
evening ; green-food whenever I think of it ; and shell-grit when I 
remember. 

They have very little shelter from rain, but ample protection from 
strong winds which at this altitude of 1,000 feet reach ioo m.p.h. now 
and again. But all the aviaries are thickly planted and covered with 
creepers and shrubbery run wild. The birds seem to like this natural 
sort of surrounding, and rain improves their plumage. 

The time spent in feeding is about forty minutes in the morning and 
half that time in the late afternoon. I admit that there is a risk in 
leaving high-protein moist food lying about for more than twenty-four 
hours, but this can be avoided by limiting the day’s ration to the 
consumers’ capacity. 

I will a secret formula impart that, as a factor in ensuring health, 
long life, and iridescence, is worth far more than fussing about with 
brooms and cleansing apparatus. By the way, did you ever know a 
gallinaceous bird that did not prefer stale water to fresh ? Or food 
off the ground rather than in little dishes ? 

This formula has been used for my birds as a daily ration for the last 
ten years and there is proof of its efficiency in hardening plumage ; 
preventing perosis, which produces crooked toes ; and greatly lessening 
the “ dead-in-shell ” chicks . It is recommended by our Department 
of Agriculture. 

Take of manganese (not magnesium) sulphate 4 oz. and mix with 
10 lb. of table salt, very thoroughly. Dissolve this mixture in the hot 
water of mash in proportion of one heaped dessertspoonful to 5 lb. of 
dry grist. This is roughly 25 parts of manganese per million. 

It is pure white magic, and the colours are enriched and polished 
after a brief course of treatment. Try it. 


14 


ORNAMENTAL PHEASANT TRUST-ANNUAL REPORT 


TWO WOOD PARTRIDGES 

By J. J. Yealland 

This brief note concerns two little-known Wood Partridges of 
south-eastern Asia, both the only species of their respective genera. 

Crimson-headed Wood Partridge 
Haematortyx sanguiniceps 

This bird is found only in the mountainous parts of Borneo. Smythies 
says that “ its particular ecological niche is the leached out sandy 
forest of the valley bottoms ”. It also occurs in primary forest, but 
is not so common there. It is said to have a habit of running along 
tracks ahead of travellers, keeping to the path, and this renders it 
easy to shoot. Harrisson says that it is easy to catch, but almost 
impossible to keep alive. The food is said to be insects and berries. 
The nest is built of dry leaves and situated on a tussock of grass or 
lichen “ in forest that is liable to flooding ”. The eggs are buff-coloured 
and smeared with darker brown, particularly at the larger end. 

The sexes are much alike—crimson head, neck, and upper breast, 
rather duller on the throat, rest of the plumage dark greyish-brown : 
the longer under tail-coverts are broadly tipped with crimson and the 
male has two spurs. 


Black Wood Partridge 
Melanoperdix nigra 

There are two races of M. nigra , the nominate one living in southern 
parts of the Malay peninsula and in Sumatra and the other (M. n. 
borneensis) in Borneo. The habitat of the Malayan bird is given as 
dense jungle in the low country and up to 2,000 feet, usually where 
there is much undergrowth ; the Bornean bird lives in primary 
forest in the lowlands of southern and south-western parts. A coloured 
plate may be seen in vol. 3 of The Birds of the Malay Peninsula , by 
Robinson and Chasen. The male is glossy black, brownish on the 
wings, and the female brown with black markings on the flanks and 
back. The legs and feet are bluish-grey and a curious feature is the 
nail-like claw of the hind toe. The Bornean race is described as “ less 
deep black with a slaty greenish tinge, the feathers of the upper side 
having lighter and more slaty edges ”. The female is of a deeper 
chestnut-brown on the chest. 

Three or four specimens of this species were brought by the late 
W. J. C. Frost in about 1955, but what became of them is not known. 



CHARLES EVERITT-BREEDING THE NATAL KINGFISHER 


5 


BREEDING THE NATAL KINGFISHER 

By Charles Everitt (Trenton, N. J., U.S.A.) 

One of the smallest known Kingfishers, only about 5 inches in total 
length of which more than an inch is made up of bill, the Pigmy King¬ 
fisher —Ispidina picta picta —is to be found over a wide area in Africa. 
North of the equator its habitat extends from the west coast, south of 
the Sahara, through Nigeria and clear across to Ethiopia and Somali¬ 
land. It also goes southward over the equator to Angola, through the 
Congo and up into Kenya. A sub-species Ispidina p. natalensis, with 
which we are now concerned, known as the Natal Kingfisher, carries 
on down the east coast through Tanganyika, Mozambique, the 
Rhodesias and the eastern parts of South Africa. Although so widely 
distributed, they are not often seen in captivity out of their native 
regions, owing to the difficulty of transporting them alive for they are 
strictly live-food eaters, in the wild, and require regular feeding. 

Mr. Boehm had seen the nominate race during his collector’s trip 
in Kenya in i960 but had not been fortunate enough to obtain any at 
that time. Nevertheless, they were not to be forgotten and, eventually, 
in June, 1961, a small consignment was received from Lourenco 
Marques. I say small, for there were only three birds, two of which 
were dead on arrival. The third had managed to survive on the 
mealworms provided but, judging from the voracious way in which it 
went for those offered to it in its cage, it would not have lasted much 
longer. In March, 1962, a further batch of eight was received from the 
same source, this time all alive. They were fairly young birds, some of 
their bills not being completely out of the immature black phase. The 
eight of them, plus the original bird, were put in one of the pens in the 
main bird house. Four were later presented to the Bronx Zoo, the 
remaining five living together quite amicably. The diet they now 
thrived on was mealworms, strips of raw beef heart and live minnows. 
The latter were placed in a shallow pan of water for the birds to dive 
into and fish out for themselves. 

The sexes are alike in coloration, the forehead and crown being 
deep violet-blue with light blue barrings. The violet-blue colouring 
extends through the mantle, wings, rump, and tail, the under-parts 
being rich rufous. This rufous shade is evident also in a superciliary 
stripe reaching to the nape of the neck. The ear-coverts and cheeks are 
mauve except for a patch below the ear, the upper portion of which is 
violet-blue, the lower part being white. They have a throat patch of 
white and the bill, legs, and feet are bright orange. The difference in 
the sexes lies in the shape of the lower mandible, that of the female 
being more keel-shaped than that of the male. 

Careful thought was given to the breeding of these little beauties for 


I 6 CHARLES EVERITT-BREEDING THE NATAL KINGFISHER 

Mr. Boehm realized that special provisions would have to be made for 
them. With this sole object in view, the aviaries shown as numbers 14 
to 18 on the plan in A.M. i960 (113) were stripped down and recon¬ 
structed into one single flight of some 60 by 16 feet, the height being 
increased to 20 feet. Across twelve feet of the lower end, against the 
bird-house wall, an earth embankment, 3 feet wide and 2 high, was 
erected. It was held in position by 2 by 1 inch wire, faced with cement. 
In this facing, holes, 4 by 2 inches, were made through the cement and 
inner wiring so as to expose the bare earth beyond. The top of the 
bank was planted with azaleas and various shrubs to bind the earth 
together. In addition, a shallow pool with continuous running water 
was installed, and the entire aviary was replanted with trees and shrubs, 
the task being completed in April 1963. 

In May it was decided that the weather was sufficiently settled to 
permit birds being transferred from their winter quarters, and the 
following pairs were released into this aviary :—Lesser Niltavas, 
Black-chinned Wren Babblers, Crimson Chats, Red-headed Tits, 
Yellow-billed Chlorophonias and the five Natal Kingfishers, which 
were then known to consist of three males and two females. Sub¬ 
sequently a pair of Eastern Bearded Reedlings were added to this 1 
collection. To assist in the identification of each bird for the daily 
check, they all bore coloured leg bands, those allotted to the King¬ 
fisher males being blue, orange, and green. The females were banded 
red, and white, the latter colour being assigned to the bird originally 
received in 1961. 

As is the case with the majority of outdoor aviaries, we were blessed 
with a goodly following of field mice so, when scrapings and small holes j 
began to be made in the exposed earth patches in the face of the em¬ 
bankment, little attention was paid to it at first. However, at one 
early morning check, on 10th June, to be precise, a Kingfisher was 
missing. A thorough search was made with the dreadful fear that one 
might have reached an untimely end. With the aid of an electric 
hand-torch, the holes in the face of the bank were examined. It was in 
the sixth, the furthest from the entrance door to the aviary, that the j 
little feathered jewel was located. What a relief, and what a thrill. All 
that could be seen of it was its head at the end of a tunnel, about 
20 inches long, that obviously dipped down at the end. The passage 
was perfectly straight, a great asset from the viewpoint of making 
regular observations of the nesting. 

The next task was to ascertain which of the Kingfishers it was, and 
a check of the band colours revealed that the bird in the nest was the 
white banded female. Later in the same morning, this bird was seen on 
a branch overhanging the pool and a quick look into the nest showed 
that there was another bird in there. A further “ band ” check pin¬ 
pointed the “ blue ” Kingfisher as being the new occupant. The days 






CHARLES EVERITT-BREEDING THE NATAL KINGFISHER I 7 

following proved this conclusively for “ blue ” or “ white ” was always 
perched in close proximity to the nest hole and it was observed that a 
change over was made every 2 hours or so, at least during the day. 

The incubation period lasted eighteen days for, on 28th June, one 
of the parent birds was seen to fly into the nest with a small minnow in 
its bill. It made this trip four times in fairly quick succession, not being 
in the nest for more than about 15 seconds at any one time. A look into 
the burrow showed nothing but the head and upper breast of an adult 
bird and it was not until the sixth day that two little bald heads were 
first seen endeavouring to get out of the beam of the torch. As with the 
incubation, the feeding of the young was shared and it became apparent 
that none of the food taken to the nest was for other than the nestlings, 
for, as soon as the change-over by the parents was effected, the bird 
vacating the nest promptly had a good meal itself. They did not appear 
to discriminate in the food they fed for they were seen to take minnows, 
mealworms, meat strips and crickets, plus an occasional moth they 
might catch. In the early days, the fish they selected for the nestlings 
were small but, as time progressed, they were observed taking fish of 
2 to 2 J inches in length, and spending no more time with the feeding 
than they did with the smaller ones. A careful study of their feeding 
showed that they fed the young birds about 8 courses every hour. 

It became easy to know when they were going to eat a fish themselves 
or feed it to the young for, once they had snatched it out of the pool, 
their method of killing it appeared to differ. If for their own con¬ 
sumption, they held it across the bill by the head when knocking it on 
branch to stun it and then, with a deft flick, transferred it lengthwise so 
that the fish’s head was in their bill, swallowing it thus, head first. 
When it was caught for feed for the young, they held the fish towards 
the tail crosswise in their bill, killing it in the same manner as described 
above. This time, however, the flick transferred the fish tail first into 
their bill, leaving the head protruding. When it came to the larger 
sized fish, they looked rather grotesque as they flew off with about ij 
inches of fish sticking out in front of them. 

On the tenth day, 2 soiled eggs, clear, were found on the ground 
below the entrance to the nest and it was from these that the following 
data was obtained. Pure white, almost round, measuring 16 by 14 mm. 
From the twelfth day on, both parents spent most of the day out of the 
nest, making their hourly trips with feed, and it was normal for each 
bird to make 4 or 5 sortees at a session. The nestlings were now 
feathering up and the bright violet-blue of the head and the rufous 
under-parts were clearly visible in the light of the torch. It was on 
16th July, at eighteen days old, that they finally vacated the nest. 

Except for the general colouring being softer, the bills shorter and 
black in colour, the fledglings were replicas of their parents. As during 
the nesting time, the adults continued to share in the feeding of the 


2 



I 8 CHARLES EVERITT-BREEDING THE FAIRY BLUE BIRD 

young birds, one of which was seen to make an ineffective dive towards 
the fish pool within hours of leaving the nest. They became inde¬ 
pendent relatively quickly, for, by 21st July, they were selecting food 
for themselves, although they still accepted tid-bits from either parent. 

During this period the other three adults spent most of the time at the 
far end of the aviary, making secretive raids on the minnow pool and 
the cricket box whenever the coast was clear. On 23rd July, fresh 
scrapings of earth were seen below the entrance to the old nest and a 
quick look showed that there was a bird in there. A check revealed 
that it was the same female and male involved and, from this second 
round, one more chick was subsequently reared to independence. It 
seemed that once again four eggs comprised the clutch for three, all 
clear, were rolled out of the nest prior to the nestling leaving. Even this 
family of three does not appear to satisfy them for, as I am writing 
this, they are sitting once more. 

The other three adults appear to have paired up for “ green 55 and 
“ red ” are always together, leaving the “ orange ” male as the odd 
man out. However, they have shown no signs of going to nest yet. 
Maybe the female is too young for she was the last one of the 1962 
birds to obtain the clear orange bill of an adult. Now that Mr. Boehm 
has bred them and has full records regarding their age, it should be 
possible to ascertain at exactly what age they do acquire complete 
adult colouring. Further information on this will be given in due 
course. In the meantime, if anyone has had previous experience with 
the breeding of this species, details of any data they garnered would be 
appreciated. 

* SjS * 

BREEDING THE FAIRY BLUE BIRD 

By Charles Everitt (Trenton, N. J., U.S.A.) 

The sight of a Fairy Blue Bird male flying in a sunlit aviary is one 
of the most attractive in the realms of aviculture. The brilliant ultra¬ 
marine-blue, with its pinkish sheen, of the crown, neck, back, lesser 
wing-coverts and under tail-coverts contrast so sharply with the velvety 
black of the remainder of its plumage. The bill, legs, and feet are black 
but the iris is a brilliant red, another striking contrast to the black of 
the face. The female is much more subdued, being basically peacock- 
blue with brownish-black wings and tail. The two central tail feathers 
have a tinge of ultramarine, as do the tips of the two pairs of feathers 
each side thereof. The greenish-blue feathers of the back have dark 
shafts, which gives an impression of the feathering being streaked. As 
with the male, the bill, legs, and feet are black, but the iris is orange to 
reddish-brown. They are about 11 inches in total length. 






CHARLES EVERITT-BREEDING THE FAIRY BLUE BIRD 


9 


There is still a certain amount of doubt as to the correct family to 
which these birds should be allocated for, although skeletal structure 
leans towards that of the Orioles, the Oriolidae family, the similarity 
is not borne out so far as breeding habits are concerned. Most of the 
true Orioles build a deep cup-shaped nest, suspended high from a fork 
at the slender end of a branch, and the incubation period is from six¬ 
teen to eighteen days. The Fairy Blue Birds, however, build open cup¬ 
shaped nests and have a much shorter period of incubation, some 
thirteen days only. Further, young of the Orioles are covered initially 
with light coloured down, white in many instances, whereas those of 
the Fairy Blue Birds are dark. These characteristics tie them up closer 
with the Ioras , genus Aegithina, and the Fruit-suckers, genus Chloropsis 
and, therefore, the Fairy Blue Birds, genus Irena , generally are regarded 
as one of the three groups making up the family Aegithinidae. 

The nominate race, Irena puella puella y is to be found in the north¬ 
eastern parts of India and Burma, but the range of the genus extends as 
far south as Ceylon and eastwards through Thailand, Vietnam, and 
Malaysia. Further, there are races to be found in the Phillipines, 
Indonesia, Borneo, the Andamans, and the Nicobars. Variations in 
size, colouring, feathering, etc., occur throughout their wide distribu¬ 
tion and they have all been recognized as sub-species of the nominate 
race. 

Mr. Boehm always desired at least one pair of these beautiful birds 
to grace his aviaries with but, until late 1961, had not been able to 
obtain a true female, all the purported females eventually showing 
themselves to be young males. At that time, however, it seemed fairly 
certain that at last he had three males and six females. Early in 1962 
the three pairs were transferred to planted aviaries, one pair to each, 
but one male became the victim of a rat thus reducing the stock to two 
pairs and four females. These latter birds were later disposed of, as 
the accommodation they were occupying was required for some new 
arrivals of other species. 

It was not until 1963 that either pair showed signs of going to nest, 
and then it was the pair in a 30 by 20 ft. aviary, which they shared with 
a pair each of Natal Robins and Bronzy Sunbirds, that made a move in 
this direction. The female began building an open, cup-shaped nest of 
coarse grasses and fine twigs, lined with fine grasses and dog’s hair, in a 
hemlock tree close to one side of the aviary. At the same time the Sun- 
bird female started to build in a crab-apple tree on the extreme 
opposite side. Having no information on the behaviour of Fairy Blue 
Birds during nesting time in captivity and, wishing to avoid any 
interference by one family to the other, it was decided to split the 
aviary in two with a Visqueen drop-sheet, thus giving each nesting 
pair an area of 16 by 20 feet. The Natal Robins were left in the Sun- 
birds’ side of the aviary. 


20 


CHARLES EVERITT—BREEDING THE FAIRY BLUE BIRD 


The Fairy Blue Birds nest was very thrush-like in its general structure 
and appearance, although no mud, an intregal ingredient of most 
thrushes nests, was used by the female, who completed the nest on her 
own. About three days were occupied with this task, the male just 
standing by challenging the world with his short, sharp, and loud 
whistling. The first egg of three was laid on 28th June, the others 
following on each of the next two days. They were fair-sized eggs, 28 by 
21 mm., with a ground colour of greenish-white, heavily blotched, 
spotted and mottled in reddish-brown and grey, in some parts almost 
obscuring the basic colour. As with the nest building, the incubating 
was carried out by the female only and, on nth July, the first chick 
hatched. There was a second the following day but the third egg was 
clear and it was removed, thus enabling the above data on size and 
colouring to be obtained. 

The nestlings were pink skinned, thickly covered with nigger-brown 
fluff, and had pink gapes, margined in white. There was a single black 
spot in the centre of the inside of both the upper and lower mandibles. 
Their development on a pure live-food diet of crickets, mealworms, 
moths, and any other insects the parents might forage, was rapid, their 
eyes being open and quills showing in the wings at four days old. The 
male certainly began to make up for all his idling now for, although he 
whistled whenever he had the chance, he was most attentive to the 
young birds, continously going to and fro with food. The female fed 
also but, as she did all the brooding of them in the nest, a considerable 
amount of her spare time was spent in feeding herself, bathing ,and 
preening. At nine days old their backs were completely feathered, 
the wings being blackish-brown, the remainder of the upper parts 
being bluish. 

Their heads, however, were the last to be feathered and, when they 
left the nest at thirteen days old, their heads were but a mass of pen 
feathers. Although it seemed a little premature for such fair-sized 
birds to fledge, they were comparatively strong on the wing and soon 
selected perching sites from which they kept up an incessant cry for 
food. Now the male worked harder than ever, the female just lending a 
“ bill ” now and again as the pace got too much for him. She appeared 
to adopt an attitude of complacency as if she felt that she had done her 
part with the nest-building, egg-laying, incubating, and brooding of the 
nestlings. If their growth in the nest had seemed rather swift, their 
development once they had fledged was even more so for, at four 
weeks old, they were completely feathered, similar colouring to the 
adult female, and were about 9 inches in length. 

Independency, however, seemed to be another thing, for they 
were nearly six weeks old before they were seen to collect live-food for 
themselves. Their diet on leaving the nest had been enlarged by the 
male, for he then began to feed them fruit and ground raw beef as well 




J. J. YEALLAND-THE BREEDING OF THE AFRICAN CATTLE EGRET 


21 


as live-food. Whenever the female did feed them she kept to the live- 
food. 

On 20th August the female laid again, three eggs as before, so the 
young birds were caught up and removed to the cage room to confirm 
that they were in fact self-supporting. This became apparent very 
soon, as they cleared up all their food, fruit, ground raw beef, egg- 
mixture, and a liberal amount of mealworms. They were then released 
into an aviary, away from their parent, so that they could attain full 
maturity under the most ideal conditions. It had been noticed that 
the blue in the back of one of them seemed to be a little brighter than 
the other, and it is wondered if this may be an early sex indicator. As 
they were both banded with different-coloured leg-bands, close 
observation is being kept on their development so as to obtain con¬ 
firmation or otherwise on this point. 

The second round followed the same pattern of events as the first, 
even to the fact that the third egg was clear, and the two chicks vacated 
the nest on ist and 2nd September, respectively. Unfortunately one of 
them selected a roosting perch below a concealed split in the plastic 
roof covering and became drenched during a heavy rainstorm one 
night, from which it caught a chill and died later in the day. The 
survivor, however, progressed as well as the first-round birds had and 
this also appeared to have a fairly bright blue back and gave vent to 
short, sharp calls, as did the older bird of the same colouring. It may 
be that two males and one female Fairy Blue Bird have been reared 
at the Boehm aviaries, but confirmation of this will have to wait for 
some time yet. However, as soon as definite sex indications are detected, 
a further report on those changes will be made for the information of 
all those interested. 


* * ❖ 

THE BREEDING OF THE AFRICAN CATTLE 

EGRET 

By J. J. Yealland (London, England) 

Bubulcus ibis , also known as Ardeola ibis , has in recent years attracted 
attention by reason of its remarkable extension of range. The nominate 
race of Africa, southern parts of Europe, south-western Asia, 
Madagascar, and other islands, appeared in tropical South America 
some years ago and has since spread northward to southern areas of the 
United States. The Indian bird (. B . i. coromandus) is said to have been 
introduced into Australia, but to have spread far northward from the 
original areas. 

Both races have often been kept in captivity, but the only previous 



22 J. J. YEALLAND-THE BREEDING OF THE AFRICAN CATTLE EGRET 

record of the breeding of the African Cattle Egret (Buff-backed Heron 
or Tick Bird) relates to the Giza Zoo, Cairo, in 1911. 

In Regent’s Park these Egrets spend the summer in the Great Aviary, 
being brought into the Eastern Aviary for the winter. In the Great 
Aviary there are high privet bushes and an even higher elder bush, this 
being the favourite nesting place. In recent years nesting has taken 
place and young sometimes hatched, but it was not until the summer of 
1962 that success was achieved, one chick being fully reared. The nest, 
a scanty platform of twigs, was built high up in the elder and there were 
other nests near by, as is natural with these colonial breeders—indeed, 
it may be that all the squabbling and general activity of the colony 
provide the necessary stimulus for breeding. 

The number of eggs laid in the nests is not known ; the incubation 
period is said to be between twenty-one and twenty-four days. For 
some time before the chick was able to fly it walked unsteadily about 
the branches around the nest. 

The food of the wild birds consists of grasshoppers, ticks, large 
insects and their larvae, small frogs, and lizards. The birds derive their 
name from the association with cattle, which disturb grasshoppers in 
the course of grazing and no doubt also provide the ticks and attract 
flies. In Africa wherever the grass is cut by machete, the Egrets have 
learned to gather round people so engaged, but they evidently trust the 
human being less than the cattle or wild animals, for they keep a 
respectful distance in their watch for disturbed grasshoppers. 

The Cattle Egrets here feed on pieces of fish (herring, sprats, or 
whiting) and raw, lean meat. Other food is put into this aviary of a 
variety of birds, but I feel sure that the Egrets do not take it, though 
they do catch flies. When the first chick was hatched we tried fixing a 
food tin on the outside of the aviary near the nest, the object being to 
provide mealworms, maggots, and locusts which only the Egrets could 
reach through the large mesh of the aviary wire-netting, but the birds 
were so disturbed whenever the food was put there (for it meant some¬ 
one going up on steps to do it) that we were afraid the chick might fall 
from the nest, so the well-meant scheme proved impracticable. 

Early this summer the birds built several nests in the bushes and 
some eggs were laid, but then the colony was deserted and I suspect 
some interference from Gallinules in the same aviary, who built a nest 
of their own close by. Later the Egrets started again and now (October) 
another chick is walking about the bushes. 

In the 1930s some of the Indian Cattle Egrets were released (with 
clipped wings) each summer at Whipsnade and in autumn, when the 
birds had moulted, they flew away. There is no record that they ever 
bred there. 



W. BOORER-BREEDING THE CELESTIAL PARROTLET 


23 


SOME NOTES ON THE BEHAVIOUR 
AND BREEDING OF THE CELESTIAL 
PARROTLET 

(Forpus coelestris) 

By (Mrs.) W. Boorer (London, England) 

These birds were sold to me in June, 1962, as Blue-winged Parrotlets. 
j As I was a novice and these were the first pair of birds that I had 
bought, I did not question the identification, and it is only recently 
that I found out that what I really have is a pair of Celestial Parrotlets. 
They were first housed in a wire cage and I spent a lot of time trying to 
tame them, with no appreciable result. They were then transferred to a 
4 ft. box cage in my small kitchen and, in this rather unlikely environ¬ 
ment, with the radio balanced on top of the cage and three young 
children milling round the front, they hatched a clutch of six in 1963. 
The following observations are fairly detailed as the birds were more or 
less constantly under my eye. 

Appearance 

These birds are about inches long and mainly bright green in 
colour. The cock bird has a light blue streak behind each eye and the 
bright green of his head becomes dulled with a greyish tinge over his 
back. His most noticeable and beautiful feature is the brilliant indigo 
of the primaries, secondaries, under wing-coverts, and rump. The hen 
has much fainter eye streaks, no blue on the wings, and a turquoise 
rump. The legs and feet are pink and the beaks horn-coloured. Young 
birds assume adult coloration straight away, though this first plumage 
seems softer and looser in texture than that of the adults. Their beaks 
are pink, gradually fading to horn, throughout their first year of life. 

General Characteristics 

The pair I possess are rather silent, shy birds. They are extremely 
reluctant to come to the floor of the cage and like all their food hung up 
high. They have never bathed and dislike being sprayed. They roost 
very early ; even in midsummer they have disappeared into their box 
by six o’clock. They are also very alert and suspicious and the slightest 
unusual sound causes them to draw themselves up very erect on the 
perch, and peer round in all directions until they have located its 
origin. Perhaps the most noticeable feature is that the birds are 
always together. If one flies the other immediately follows. They sit 
pressed together on the perch and spend much time in mutual preening. 



24 


W. BOORER-BREEDING THE CELESTIAL PARROTLET 


When I had to remove the hen, who became ill, they called to each 
other for several hours. When they do disagree they make a high 
pitched chattering, drawing themselves up very erect with feathers 
tight. Their heads bob and weave and feint with their beaks open. The 
leg nearest their opponent is raised and makes vague, grasping move¬ 
ments in the air. I have never seen them touch each other during this 
display which usually ends by one bird leaving the perch to fly round to 
the other side of the one left. Their threat display is rather impressive. 
With all feathers fluffed out and beaks open they rock very slowly 
backwards. When it seems they are about to fall off the perch they 
lunge forward extremely fast. This is done silently and the strike 
forward is made long before the object they are threatening is within 
range. I have never seen them do this to each other. It seems to be 
directly solely to external dangers. 

Feeding 

My pair would only eat spray millet when they first arrived. 
I managed to wean them on to a mixture of mixed canary, mixed 
millets, groats, and hemp. However, they reared their brood entirely 
on spray millet. During the moult they became extremely fond of hemp 
and threw out all their other seed in an effort to find it. They also had 
cuttlefish, grit, apple (which they eat sporadically), and seeding grass, 
of which they were very fond. Dried spinach and powdered yeast and 
C. L. O. were added to the seed mixture. They ignored sunflower seed, 
never used their feet to pick anything up, and also chewed up a lot of 
wood, though this whittling can scarcely be called an addition to their 
diet. 


Courtship 

The cock fed the hen on a few occasions before nesting commenced. 
Mating was seen several times. There seemed to be no special pre¬ 
liminaries. The hen crouched on the perch with wings slightly spread 
and the cock stood on one foot and straddled her with the other. 
All the matings were very brief. Only once was the cock seen to 
give anything that might be called a display and this consisted of 
advancing along the perch towards the hen snaking his neck from side 
to side as he did so. 


Breeding 

When a budgerigar nest-box was placed at one end of the cage, 
the birds remained rooted to the perch at the other end for the next ten 
days. The cock finally investigated the box and shortly after this the 
two of them used it for roosting. The hen started incubating on 11 th 
April. The nest-box was not examined but from later evidence, 




W. BOORER-BREEDING THE CELESTIAL PARROTLET 


25 


chiefly from a disastrous second clutch, I know that the eggs were 
white and were laid on every second day. I don’t know whether 
incubation started with the laying of the first egg but certainly the 
nestlings were all different sizes and when they finally flew it was at 
three-day intervals. During incubation, and for the first three weeks or 
so after hatching, the hen only appeared once a day. This was about 
noon, when she flew out for a drink, a brief preen, and to relieve her¬ 
self of an extremely large, wet dropping. She was never out for more 
than two minutes. The cock also spent much time in the nest-box but, 
as he could always be seen sitting just inside the entrance hole, I am 
certain he took no part in incubation. Seventeen days after the hen 
began incubation she appeared at noon with her breast feathers damp 
and glued together and a faint squeaking could be heard in the box, so 
I presumed the first egg had hatched. Four weeks later a chick was 
first seen at the nest-box entrance. It was completely bald with the 
disproportionate head of all young parrotlike birds. Seven weeks after 
the first hatching date two nestlings were thrown out of the nest-box. 
The larger was a young cock with his blue quills just showing on his 
wings ; the smaller was completely bald. I replaced these and an hour 
later the young cock was again ejected this time with both legs bleeding. 
I made an attempt to hand-rear him but after a month he died, owing 
to my lack of experience in weaning. Shortly after this the mummified 
remains of another young cock was found on the cage floor. On 23rd 
June, eight weeks after hatching, the first young hen flew, to be followed 
at three-day intervals by three others. The fourth hen had been 
attacked in the box and had a crippled leg. As the adult hen was 
chivvying them, the fledglings were removed to a separate cage on the 
morning that the last one flew. Once they had left the nest the young¬ 
sters were entirely self-supporting. The parents were never seen to 
feed them, though they all returned to roost in the box at night. The 
nest-box was examined and revealed an inch-thick layer of powdered 
faeces, confirming my impression that there was no attempt at nest 
sanitation. There was also a large amount of millet and millet husks 
suggesting that the parents had been carrying whole millet into the 
box for some time before the fledglings flew. One mystery was a 
sustained drumming noise that was heard from inside the nest box at 
infrequent intervals. How this noise was produced I have no idea. 



26 S. B. KENDALL-NOTES ON MY COCKATOOS IN 1963 

NOTES ON MY COCKATOOS IN 1963 

By S. B. Kendall (Chertsey, England) 

Breeding results have been better than ever before, but I would 
attribute this more to the gradual accumulation of suitable stock than 
to any conditions of the environment or season. Eleven Cockatoos left 
the nest, although one young Roseate died soon afterwards. Timors 
laid but did not hatch (the hen is of my own breeding) ; Leadbeater’s 
did nothing. Of the young birds that survived three were Citron- 
crests (two from my old pair and one from a pair comprising an im¬ 
ported hen and a home-bred cock), five were Roseates (two nests from 
one pair : they have fully reared seventeen during the last three years) 
and two were hybrids—Leadbeater’s X Citron-crest (hen). As these 
probably represent a previously unrecorded breeding some more detail 
may be of interest. 

The parents are both aviary-bred—the Citron-crest here and the 
Leadbeater’s elsewhere—and had spent a season together previously 
with no result. Owing to the position of the barrel I was able to observe 
progress rather more closely than usual. The first egg was noticed on 
5th May, and another on 8th May. One young one was seen on 2nd 
June, after a period of incubation during which the parents seemed to 
be out of the nest far more than was advisable ! The second hatched on 
4th June. The crests of the young were seen to be growing by 30th 
June, and I noted that the plumage was mainly white. The young left 
the nest about 30th July. 

The hybrids are, in my opinion very lovely, although not really what 
I expected. The plumage may, of course, change as they become adult. 
Basically the plumage is white, slightly suffused with yellow on the 
breast, orange on the cheeks, and with pink and yellow under the tail 
and under the wings. The crest is orange to salmon with a little white 
at the tips, midway in fact between those of the parents. The birds are 
larger than Citron-crests of equivalent age, particularly the cock, which 
also is noticeably brighter. They are quite obviously a true pair, 
the eye of the cock being black and that of the hen grey-brown, and 
there is a definite difference in the pitch of their voices. 

Personally I am delighted with the result. There may be some who 
feel that I am misusing valuable breeding stock, but in extenuation I 
can answer that for a number of years now I have produced at least my 
quota of pure-bred cockatoos and that such hybrid stock has some 
scientific interest as well as giving somebody the opportunity of getting 
pets of great beauty and, one can expect, of exceptional hardiness. It 
seems very doubtful if they are fertile, although they certainly don’t 
look like hybrids, and I was at one stage tempted to exhibit them at the 
“ National ” as Fulu Island Cockatoos, but I have not yet got round to 



R. A. RICHARDSON-LIBERTY WHITE-EYES IN 1 963 


27 


finding out whether such a place does in fact exist. Perhaps in one of the 
tens of thousands of remote Pacific Islands, to which some exceptionally 
strong-winged Leadbeater’s has found its way, even the birds them¬ 
selves may already exist. 


* * * 

LIBERTY WHITE-EYES IN 1963 

By R. A. Richardson (Cley, Norfolk, England). 

Readers may remember that in 1962 pair “ C ” of my Indian 
White-eyes (£■osterops palpebrosd) reared two youngsters at liberty and 
that all four birds were admitted to the aviary where they successfully 
survived the icy weather of early 1963. 

Shortly after the thaw set in, however, the young female was picked 
up dead from the aviary floor, having apparently struck some obstacle 
in flight. 

The adult female was once again duly released on 15th May, her 
mate being allowed to join her six days later. 

For the first half of June I was away in the Shetlands and due to a 
misunderstanding these birds were deprived of nectar and all artificial 
food for a whole fortnight, yet such is the tenacity of White-eyes that 
they were still coming to the aviary when I returned home and resumed 
their food supply. 

The nest was never found but was probably 100 yards away in the 
same tree as 1962, for it was there, on 27th June, that I found two tiny 
newly-fledged chicks “ welded ” snugly together among the topmost 
twigs of the identical elm tree and being tended by one of the parents. 

Thenceforward the father was in and out of the garden daily and on 
30th July I found him singing in a wood half a mile away. 

On 12th August he was home again and bickering through the wire 
netting with his 1962 son which had remained confined in the aviary. 

A few days later I re-admitted him and surprisingly enough they 
soon settled down together again. 

The female and two youngsters were never seen again and must have 
met with an accident. 

It is known that a notorious liquid insecticide was being used against 
a plague of greenfly at about the time they disappeared but I cannot 
say whether or not this was responsible. 

I still have male “ G ” and his 1962 son plus two newly-imported 
birds of uncertain sex. 



28 ROBERT LOTSHAW-DOWNY WOODPECKERS IN CAPTIVITY 


IN MEMORY OF DAVID SETH-SMITH 

It can be said that David Seth-Smith was the doyen of International 
Aviculture. No one has been concerned so long, so completely and so 
successfully with the care and study of birds in captivity. Nor has 
anyone been more closely identified with the Avicultural Society and 
the London Zoo. He was the last of a remarkable generation of 
aviculturists, which immediately preceeded mine, and included 
Hubert Astley, Alfred Ezra, Gerard Gurney, the Duchess of Bedford, 
the Duchess of Wellington, Meade-Waldo, St. Quintin, Amsler and a | 
few others. They all were my friends ; they taught me a great deal 
of what I know, and I miss them sadly. 

In his capacity of curator of birds at the London Zoo, David 
Seth-Smith occupied the centre of the avicultural stage. All came to 
consult with him and to ask for his advice and services, as he was as kind 
and unselfish as he was well informed, his help was always available and 
he became extremely popular with all bird lovers. I met him for the 
first time in 1918, when I came on leave to England just before the end 
of the war. We have never since ceased to be in close touch, seeing a 
lot of each other. He came to Cleres on several occasions, and it 
became a habit for him, Ezra, S. Stokes, and myself to go on tours all 
over England and France to meet aviculturists and to see their collec¬ 
tions. These trips were altogether instructive and delightful, and I 
keep a fond memory of them. 

I went to see David Seth-Smith at Guildford for the last time on 
12th June 1963, as I did every summer. He was evidently getting 
weaker, but his mind was still as good as ever, and we had fun talking 
of the good old days. His last years had been serene and he remained 
as happy as one can be at advanced age, thanks to the devotion of his 
wife, Heather. I feel personally grateful to her for having brought 
comfort and peace of mind to my old friend. 

J.D. 

* ❖ ❖ 

DOWNY WOODPECKERS IN CAPTIVITY 

By Robert Lotshaw (Loveland, Ohio, U.S.A.) 

In the autumn of 1962 the Cincinnati Zoological Gardens came into 
possession of a pair of adult Downy Woodpeckers, Dryobates pubescens 
medianus. Realizing the chances were poor of keeping them alive, 
Edward Maruska, general curator, suggested smearing diced fruit and 
a soft food mixture on the uppermost tree bark in the woodpeckers’ 
cage. The idea was to bring the food directly to the Downys rather 
than to take a chance they might never find it. Also, this was the first 
step of a dish conditioning process. 








HEINZ-GEORG KLOS-NEWS FROM BERLIN ZOOLOGICAL GARDEN 2p 

If at first the Downy Woodpeckers continued to refuse the smeared 
food, then a further inducing agent would be to sprinkle mealworms on 
it. Once the Downys were observed to be eating, then each succeeding 
day the food was smeared on the bark at lower levels until the base of 
the tree was reached. The final step was simply transferring the diced 
fruit and soft food to a dish. 

Their present diet consists of the standard soft-food mixture com¬ 
prised of Ken-L-Ration dog food, cottage cheese, peanut butter, and 
dried flies, which have been soaked in warm water ; very finely 
grated egg ; and diced fruit consisting of apple, grape, and banana. 
Every morning a milk formula is given to the woodpeckers and consists 
of two parts water, one part condensed milk, honey, Ledinac, and Vi- 
Penta vitamin drops. It is removed from the cage a few hours later to 
prevent the birds from drinking sour milk. Also, an adequate number 
of mealworms are offered. 

A third Downy Woodpecker has recently been started on the afore¬ 
mentioned conditioning process. This one, a female, seems reluctant to 
i accept the smeared food, but we are confident that she will eventually. 

* ❖ ❖ 

NEWS FROM THE BERLIN 
ZOOLOGICAL GARDEN 

By Dr. Heinz-Georg Klos 

The famous waterfowl collection at the Berlin Zoo—with more than 
a hundred different species one of the largest in Europe—has now 
received its most valuable addition. As a generous gift of the Fish and 
Wildlife Service in the U.S. Department of the Interior a young pair 
of Trumpeter Swans arrived in late September. These huge birds are 
the largest and one of the rarest representatives of waterfowl. Originally 
distributed from the Arctic south to the United States, where they 
nested on the prairies, west to the Rocky Mountains and wintered by 
the thousands from coast to coast south to Mexico, by 1910 the Trum¬ 
peters were thought to be extinct. 

Having discovered some pairs again breeding on wilderness lakes 
in the Yellowstone National Park, in 1929 a programme was started 
in order to save this species from final extinction. In the Red Rock 
Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Montana the Trumpeter Swans 
have increased now again to number between 500 and 700, and 
perpetuation seems assured. 

We are most obliged to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 
placing a pair at our disposal, and to the National Zoological Park in 
Washington D.G. for kind assistance. The Berlin Zoo had already 



30 


HEINZ-GEORG KLOS-NEWS FROM BERLIN ZOOLOGICAL GARDEN 


exhibited Trumpeter Swans until 1916 without being so lucky to 
breed them in captivity, although the famous Dutch aviculturist 
F. E. Blaauw had proved that this is by all means possible. 

In late October the Berlin Zoo had the good luck to acquire a pair 
of Laysan Teal. These ducks, endemic only on the small island of 
Laysan, north of Hawaii, belong to the rarest species among water- 
fowl. Having vanished more and more during the last decades the 
number of Teal living free on the only lake of the island had decreased 
to some thirty, until a strict conservation programme was started. 
Now they again number about one hundred and it has even been 
possible to breed them in captivity. 

After having endeavoured for years, we succeeded in acquiring a fine 
pair of White-naped Cranes, bred in the United States. Furthermore 
we got four Indian Painted Storks, seldom occurring in Zoological 
Gardens. 

From Australia two Tawny Frogmouths and two Little Penguins 
arrived at the Berlin Zoo in September, in exchange for some animals 
bred in our Gardens. 

Tawny Frogmouths (Podargus strigoides) are seldom to be seen 
in European Zoos, although distributed throughout the whole of 
Australia, where forest-lands occur. Sitting with eyes closed in an 
upright position on a branch in their cage, they simulate the bark of 
the branch so closely that they are really difficult to locate. Fed with 
meat, mice, and insects they are thriving well. 

Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor), the smallest in the world, are 
at home from Perth to Newcastle, south around Tasmania, in New 
Zealand and east to the Chatham Islands, breeding in burrows and 
coastal rookeries in spring and summer. In spite of being not uncommon 
they belong to the rarities in European Zoos. From the date of their 
arrival they have become favourites of the public. Always being 
hand-fed with small pieces of fish they are doing well. 

Other new arrivals worth mentioning include two Peruvian Boobies, 
two Cape Shelducks, one Whistling Swan, two Common Jacanas, four 
Great Bustards, two Manchurian Cranes, ten Chilean Flamingos, two 
Black Ibises, two Glossy Ibises, one Black-necked Stork, one Argus 
Pheasant, two Dwarf Turtle Doves, one South American Condor, one 
Jendaya Parrakeet, two Blue-throated Barbets, two Indian Rollers, 
two Pyroderus scutatus , one Green-breasted Pitta, two Hunting Crows, 
two Racket-tailed Drongos, two Blue-faced Parrot Finches, two 
Northern Blue Grosbeaks, two Shining Honey Creepers, one Dajal, 
and others. 

Two Black-footed Penguins and three Black Swans have been 
hatched in the Gardens. 




BRITISH AVICULTURISTS’ CLUB 


3 1 


COUNCIL MEETING 

A Council Meeting was held on nth November, 1963, at the 
Windsor Hotel, Lancaster Gate, London, W.2. 

Miss E. Maud Knobel was elected sixth President of the Society. 
Mr. A. A. Prestwich was elected a Vice-President. 

Officers for 1964 

There were the following retirements and appointments :— 

Council : Mr. F. T. Jones, Mr. W. R. Partridge, and Mr. P. L. 
Wayre retired by rotation. 

Miss R. M. Ezra, Mr. R. G. Kirkham, and Mr. K. A. Norris were 
elected to fill the vacancies. 

Executive Committee : Sir Crawford McCullagh, Bt., was elected 
to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Mr. D. Seth-Smith. 

Editor : Miss P. Barclay-Smith retired according to rule, and being 
eligible was re-elected—for a sixth term of office. 

Hon. Secretary-Treasurer : Mr. A. A. Prestwich retired according to 
rule, and being eligible was re-elected—for a fourth term of office. 

Arthur A. Prestwich, 

Hon. Secretary. 

* * * 

BRITISH AVICULTURISTS’ CLUB 

The eighty-second meeting of the Club was held at the Windsor 
Hotel, Lancaster Gate, London, W.2., on Monday, nth November, 
1963, following a dinner at 7 p.m. 

Chairman : Mr. K. Norris. 

Members of the Club : P. S. Bates, A. W. Bolton, Miss K. Bonner, 
A. E. Butler, R. D. Chancellor, R. A. Chester, Captain A. Clarence, 

R. A. Copley, W. D. Cummings, Mrs. L. Da Costa, J. O. D’eath, 
C. W. Desmond, Mrs. W. Duggans, Miss R. M. Ezra, J. Hancock, 
H. J. Harman, L. W. Hill, Dr. J. R. Hodges, F. E. B. Johnson, F. T. 
Jones, Dr. S. B. Kendall, R. G. Kirkham, Miss E. M. Knobel, C. 
Marler, R. F. Marshall, P. H. Maxwell, F. Mosford, G. S. Mottershead, 

S. Murray, Sir Crawford McCullagh, Bt., W. R. Partridge, J. W. Peel, 
F. W. Perowne, A. A. Prestwich, D. H. S. Risdon, R. C. J. Sawyer, 
H. A. Snazle, E. O. Squire, Newton R. Steel, A. J. Swain, 
N. Tomlinson, Mrs. N. Tomlinson, Mrs. R. Upton, P. L. Wayre, 
Mrs. G. Wheatley, J. J. Yealland. 

Members of the Club, forty-seven ; guests fourteen ; total, sixty-one. 
The Club’s traditional birthday cakes were presented to Mr. Terry 
Jones and Mr. Frank Mosford. 


32 


NEWS AND VIEWS 


Mr. J. O. D’eath showed his new colour film “ Return Safari to East 
Africa, 1963 The photographer modestly describes this film as having 
been taken mainly for the purpose of private showing to friends, but 
actually it is of the very highest professional standard. Mr. G. S. 
Mottershead, on behalf of the Club, thanked Mr. D’eath for the 
showing. 

The date of the eighty-fourth meeting is Monday, 9th March, 1964. 

Arthur A. Prestwich, 

Hon. Secretary. 

* * 

NEWS AND VIEWS 

Dr. Alan Lendon has been elected Patron of the Avicultural Society 
of South Australia. 

❖ * * 

Mr. A. Lopez has been elected President, Avicultural Society of 
America. After serving for seven years as Secretary, Mr. Otis Wade has 
resigned and has been succeeded by Mr. David West. 

* * * 

The Simon Harvey Memorial Medal, awarded annually by the 
Avicultural Society of South Australia for the most outstanding first 
breeding achievement of the year, has been awarded to Bev. Thomas 
for breeding the Grey Butcher Bird Cracticus torquatus 

* * Hs 

One of the most famous engravings in the world, Diirer’s “ Adam 
and Eve ” was recently sold at Sotherby’s for £3,400. Engraved in 
1504, it is of special interest to aviculturists and ornithologists alike 
because included in the group, depicted on the edge of a forest, is a 
fair likeness of a Ring-necked Parrakeet. This prompts one to wonder 
whether this is the earliest representation of a parrot-like bird. 

* * * 

Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, Professor of Zoology and Director of the | 
Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, has been ; 
appointed Secretary (Chief Officer) of the Smithsonian Institution, 
Washington, D.C. The responsibility and demands of running the 
world’s greatest museum will prevent Dr. Ripley from devoting as 
much time as hitherto to his famous waterfowl collection at Litchfield, 
but he does intend to maintain it at as high a standard as possible. 

* * * 

News from U.S.A. We hear that : F. FI. Rudkin is hand-rearing 
a young Banksian Cockatoo that was hatched under a bantam. It is 
reported to be almost fully feathered. At the Tracy Aviary, Salt Lake : 
City, a Hyacinthine Macaw and a Blue and Yellow Macaw have : 
produced a hybrid. R. G. Naegeli, Director, Busch Gardens, Tampa, 





NEWS AND VIEWS 


33 


Florida, reports three Golden-naped Macaws (Ara auricollis) hatched. 
Professor Carl Naether has reared five young Key West Quail Doves. 

* * * 

During the 1962-63 breeding season 166 birds of forty species and 
varieties were bred in the Adelaide Zoological Gardens. Some of the 
more interesting were Black Swan, seven ; White Ibis, two ; 
Tasmanian Water Hen, three ; Nepal Kalij Pheasant, four ; White- 
browed Wood Swallow, three ; Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, one ; 
Cloncurry Parrakeet, three ; Rock Parrakeet, three ; Hooded 
Parrakeet, four ; and Golden-crowned Gonure, two. There are now no 
less than seventy-three species and varieties of the order Psittaciformes 
in the collection. 

* * * 

Dr. G. Swaenepoel reports some interesting breeding results by 
F. Meerschaert. Some lutino Ring-necked Parrakeets, bought at the 
sale of the late M. Bruyneel’s birds, gave the following results during 
1963 

1st pair , lutino X lutino : four young, two lutino, two green. 

2nd pair , lutino X lutino : two young, one lutino, one green. 

3rd pair , green (/lutino ?) X green (/lutino ?), five young in two nests. 

First nest, two lutino, died in the nest. 

Second nest, three green. 

In appearance the third pair are normal. 

These results are perhaps a little puzzling. Mr. E. J. Boosey informs 
me, however, that they are consistent with the birds being non- sex- 
linked lutinos. A pair of these will produce both lutino and green 
young ones (some but not all of the latter being split-lutino), whereas 
a pair of sex-linked lutinos’ young ones will all be lutinos. 

* * * 

In the National Geographic Magazine , December, 1963, John G. 
Williams, Curator of the Department of Ornithology at the Coryndon 
Museum, Nairobi, gives an absorbingly interesting account of the 
largest and most successful African bird rescue operation in history. 
The legs of many thousands of baby flamingos at Lake Magadi, Kenya, 
became encrusted with soda. Thousands died before help could be 
given but the magnificent efforts of rescue teams resulted in more than 
27,000 young flamingos being manually freed from their soda shackles, 
and at least 200,000 other juvenile birds were prevented by the 
presence of the rescue teams from entering the shallows where the soda 
was most concentrated. 

There is an excellent series of photographs by Alan Root of the 
flamingos and the rescue operations. Alan Root and his wife Joan are 
ardent conservationists and it was they who first discovered the 
appalling plight of the young birds. A. A. P. 

* * * 


3 



34 


J. J. YEALLAND-LONDON ZOO NOTES 


LONDON ZOO NOTES 

By J. J. Yealland 

A Bateleur Eagle presented in June, 1919, by Sir Geoffrey Archer has 
died. The bird was in immature plumage when it came and was then 
about two years of age, having lived its first year in Somaliland and 
some time in Sussex where it lived at liberty in the garden, returning of 
its own accord to roost in a stable. On occasion it accompanied Sir 
Geoffrey’s man, Ibrahim Sayed, into Horsham by bus, travelling, not 
in the approved falconry style, but tucked under the man’s arm. For 
some years it has shown signs of senility, usually sitting on a platform 
near the ground, but just occasionally it would perform the ghost of a 
display and give a faint cry whenever its companion, a much younger 
bird, was greeting a known passer-by. 

This is the bird referred to in volume 1 of “ The Birds of British 
Somaliland and the Gulf of Aden ” by Sir Geoffrey and Miss Godman, 
published in 1937. 

Six species and one sub-species not previously in the collection have 
been received : these are :—Black-throated Barbet ( Tricholaema m. 
melanocephalum) , Elgon Yellow-billed Barbet ( Trachylaemus purpuratus 
elgonensis ), Cretzschmar’s Bunting (. Emberiza caesia ), Black-billed 
Weaver ( Ploceus melanogaster stephanophorus) , Red-headed Blue-bill 
(1 Spermophaga r. ruficapilla) , Magpie Starling ( Speculipastor bicolor ) and 
Black-winged Oriole ( Oriolus nigripennis percivali ). 

Most of these specimens were in a fine collection brought by Mr. 
David Roberts of Lake Baringo. It is not at present known exactly 
where the Black-throated Barbets were collected, but the race in that 
area should be T. m. stigmatothorax which has a brown throat and often 
some red on the belly. Those brought by Mr. Roberts resemble the 
nominate race which is supposed to live farther north. There are four 
races of this species, all inhabiting dry scrub country of eastern and 
north-eastern Africa. 

The Black-billed Weaver inhabits the undergrowth in forested areas, 
not the tree canopy. It appears to be insectivorous and is a solitary 
nester. There are two races and, so far as is known, they are widely 
separated, one living in mountainous parts of the former British 
Cameroon and the other in a fairly small area of East Africa. This is, of 
course, not to be confused with the Black-billed Sparrow Weaver 
(. Plocepasser ). 

The Magpie Starling is of particular interest. Some of the other 
species mentioned may be new to aviculture, but this starling almost 
certainly is. It is said to be a great wanderer over parts of Somaliland, 
Kenya, and north-eastern Uganda and is reported to have appeared in 
large numbers on Mombasa Island to feed on the ripe fruit of the wild 







REVIEWS 


35 


fig trees that line the main thoroughfares ; also, in 1917, in the out¬ 
skirts of Nairobi to feed on wild tomatoes growing on the municipal 
dump—“ and in two days there was not a ripe fruit in the whole ten- 
acre plot 55 . Nesting is said generally to take place in holes in ant-hills 
(presumably termite mounds). 

Cretzschmar’s Bunting breeds in parts of south-eastern Europe and 
south-western Asia, wintering in north-eastern Africa. It lives on 
rocky hill-sides and semi-desert areas, but in winter is said to frequent 
cultivated land, generally near the desert. 

Other arrivals include a young pair of Fish Eagles (H. vocifer), Lesser 
Scaup, Pintail, Sharp-winged Teal, a Hyacinthine Macaw, a Crested 
Lark, a Calandra Lark, and some Bristle-crowned Starlings ( Onycho - 
gnathus salvadorii ). 

A second Cattle Egret has been bred in the Gardens ; also two 
Collared X Turtle Doves (Streptopelia decaocto X S. turtur). The mother 
flew on to a ship near the Scilly Isles last Spring and appeared to have 
injured its wing which is still held in a dropped position, though flight 
is not affected. In the British birds’ aviary it soon mated with a 
Collared Turtle Dove (the species that has in recent times spread north¬ 
westward and is now breeding in parts of Britain) and the single chick 
of the first nest died. This hybrid has, of course, been previously bred 
in captivity. 

* * * 

REVIEWS 

AUSTRALISCHE SITTICHE (AUSTRALIAN PARRAKEETS). 

By Dr. H. D. Groen. J. Niemeijer, Groningen, Holland, 1963. 

Price 95^. net. 

This interesting and beautifully produced book deals with all the 
Australian broadtail parrakeets except the Budgerigar, Ground 
Parrakeet, and Night Parrakeet. It is written by an experienced 
keeper and breeder of psittacines primarily for aviculturists or those 
likely to take up aviculture. 

The first part of the book deals with purchasing, keeping, 
and breeding parrakeets. It is profusely illustrated with helpful 
sketches and photographs. The author strongly advises his readers to 
'procure European-bred specimens if possible and to purchase only 
young birds. He gives as reasons for this advice that (presumably 
before the export ban) Australian aviculturists usually only parted with 
second-rate birds when selling them overseas and, similarly, few people 
in Europe are likely to wish to sell adult parrakeets unless these have 
some physical or psychological defect that makes them useless for 
breeding. He gives some amusing, if alarming, examples. When 


36 


REVIEWS 


discussing the breeding of parrakeets the author shows how a con¬ 
sideration of the birds’ nesting habits and nest enemies in the wild can 
be of the utmost practical use to the aviculturist. This section is 
followed by a chapter on diseases and how to avoid or cure them, 
where possible, by J. Doctors Van Leeuwen, and a chapter on the 
photography of captive birds by S. Duursma. 

The second part of the book consists of a clear, concise, but reasonably 
detailed account of each species, with special emphasis on care and 
feeding in captivity. Except for the Golden-shouldered Parrakeet, each 
species is illustrated by a coloured photograph showing both sexes. 
These plates add greatly to the value and beauty of the book. It must, 
however, be said that the colour reproduction, though good, is not 
perfect and in many cases does not do full justice to the brilliance of the 
living birds. 

When in doubt as to whether to treat a form as a full species or 
not the author chooses the former course. This seems sensible in such a 
book as this and he has been careful to state in such cases that others 
hold a different opinion and to give references. The book can be 
recommended to everyone, aviculturist or otherwise, who is interested 
in the platycercine parrakeets. 

D. G. 

* ❖ * 

I NAME THIS PARROT ... By Arthur A. Prestwich, Eden- 
bridge, Kent, England, 1963. Price 21s. net. 

The first edition of this interesting and entertaining book, published 
in 1958, was so well received that the author has been induced to 
produce a revised and enlarged second edition. In his preface, 
Mr. Prestwich states that it is quite doubtful whether this second 
edition would have materialized if he had not had reason to consult 
Malaysian Plant Collectors and Collections , being volume 1 (1950) of Flora 
Malesiana, from which he was able to extract all the additional and 
confirmatory information. j 

Each entry of Mr. Prestwich’s book has been re-edited, many 
revisions and additions have been made, and several fresh names have 
been introduced. There are two further Appendixes, (B) personal 
names published since 1st January, 1936, and (C) a complete list of 
scientific names admitted by Peters, together with their derivations 
and appropriate English names. 

Mr. Prestwich is to be congratulated on his initiative and enormous ! 
amount of work in producing such a valuable, informative, and well 
written publication. 

P. B-S. 



REVIEWS 


37 


ECOLOGY OF SEA COLONY BIRDS OF THE BARENTS SEA. 
By L. O. Belopol’skii. Program for Scientific Translations, 
Jerusalem, Israel, December, 1961. Price 6&y. $9.50 net. 

This is a translation, from Russian, of a monographic study, ex¬ 
tending over many years, of the ecology of sea colony birds from 
Murmansk in the west to Novaya Zemlya in the east, and especially 
those of the Barents Sea. The author, a well-known zoologist, has 
studied in detail the nutrition of sea-birds, their methods of obtaining 
food, their diet and changes in their diet, the nutrition of various age 
groups, and the relationship between the various ingredients of their 
diet. Also the reproduction of sea-birds, including the dynamics of 
bird population, fecundity, etc. 

A large section of the book is devoted to the intra- and inter-specific 
relations between the bird colony of the Barents Sea, mutual rela¬ 
tionship between birds and their food, and the effect of predatory 
activity and relationship between the species as a factor in the estab¬ 
lishment and development of sea-bird colonies. 

The work, originally published in 1957, is of special interest in view 
of the opening of the Great Northern Sea route and the development 
of the natural resources of the Arctic. The text contains numerous 
illustrations but their reproduction is of such poor quality that many 
are difficult to decipher. 

E. H. 

❖ * * 

WHILE SOME TREES STAND. By Garth Christian. Newnes, 
London, 1963. Price 2 is. net. 

The book tells of the disappearing countryside in Britain and the 
many hazards which now contribute to destroy wildlife, from the 
encroachment of man himself, toxic chemicals, and detergents which 
ruin streams, to mention only a few, and he aptly titles his first chapter 
“ Facing the Challenge ”. Though the greater part of the book is 
devoted to British mammals, there are five chapters on familiar birds 
which contain many of the author’s first-hand observations. The 
book is illustrated with first-rate photographs, many by Eric Hosking, 
so need no further recommendation. 


P. B-S. 




38 


NOTES 


NOTES 

News from the Chester Zoo Bird Collection 

Some time ago we received a Guinea Wood-Hoopoe (Phoeniculus erythrorynchus \ 
guineensis ) which is housed in the Tropical House. It is extremely partial to maggots, 
and one of the keepers told me about a most curious way with which it deals with 
them. So curious, in fact, that I would hardly have believed it had I not seen it 
myself some days later. The bird behaves exactly as if it were “ anting.” It flies down 
to the live-food pot, and places six or seven maggots under the feathers of its back. It 
then flies back to its usual perch and proceeds to eat the maggots at its leisure. I wonder i 
if there is a connection with “ anting ” procedure ? 

One of our seven Cocks-of-the-Rock, which also inhabits the Tropical House is a 
keen mouse-hunter, and deals with its prey exactly like a Kingfisher, banging it 
against its perch for some time before finally swallowing it. Unfortunately it has also 
been seen to devour a Humming bird ! 

A. W. E. Fletcher. 


Toe Deformity in Pheasant Chicks 

Some years ago I suggested to a pheasant breeder that it would be interesting to 
provide bantam foster-mothers of pheasant chicks with perches in the coop so as 
to encourage early perching by the chicks as occurs in the wild state when they go up to 
roost on a branch with the mother. This, I believed, would help to prevent the foot 
deformities in pheasant chicks that occur when they are reared under bantams in the 
conventional way, and my only reason for thinking this was that I had never seen a 
case of toe deformity in pheasants that had been reared with the parents in a place 
where they could roost naturally. 

It was, therefore, with particular interest that I learned from Monsieur Delacour 
that a pheasant breeder in the United States had done this and apparently with 
success. 

Obviously there are other causes of these deformities, but I believe this to be the 
main one. 


J. J- Y. 








THE AVICULTURAL 
: SOCIETY : 

FOR THE STUDY OF 
BRITISH & FOREIGN BIRDS 
IN FREEDOM & CAPTIVITY 


OFFICERS FOR THE YEAR 1964 

President 

MISS E. MAUD KNOBEL 


Vice-Presidents 

J. Delacour, Allen Silver, G. S. Mottershead, 
Sir Crawford MgCullagh, Bart., A. A. Prestwich 


Miss P. Barglay-Smith 
Miss K. Bonner 
W. D. Cummings 
J. O. D’eath 
Miss R. Ezra 
L. W. Hill 
F. E. B. Johnson 
R. G. Kirkham 
A. Lamb 


Council 

F. Mosford 
K. A. Morris 

C. M. Payne 

A. A. Prestwich 

D. H. S. Risdon 
T. Spence 

E. O. Squire 
N. R. Steel 

J. J. Yealland 


Executive Committee 


Miss P. Barclay-Smith 
Miss K. Bonner 
Miss E. M. Knobel 


G. S. Mottershead 

Sir Crawford McCullagh, Bt. 

A. A. Prestwich 


Hon. Secretary-Treasurer 
A. A. Prestwich 

Galley’s Wood, Nr. Edenbridge, Kent 

Assistant Secretary 
Miss Kay Bonner 

Editor 

Miss Phyllis Barclay-Smith, M.B.E. 

51 Warwick Avenue, London, W. 9 

Auditor 

J. W atkin Richards, Certified Accountant 





OFFICERS OF THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY 
PAST AND PRESENT 


PRESIDENTS 


1894-1895 

1896-1920 

1921-1925 

1926-1955 

1956-1963 

1963- 


The Countess of Bective 
The Rev. Canon and Hon. F. G. Dutton 
( later Lord Sherborne) 

The Rev. H. D. Astley 
A. Ezra, O.B.E. 

D. Seth-Smith 
Miss E. Maud Knobel 


SECRETARIES 


1894-1896 

1896-1899 

1899-1901 

1901-1903 

1903- 1904 

1904- 1909 
1909-1914 


Dr. C. S. Simpson 
H. R. Fillmer 
J. Lewis Bonhote 
R. Phillipps 
JR. Phillipps 
\Dr. A. G. Butler 

{ T. H. Newman 
Dr. A. G. Butler 

{ R. I. Pocock 
Dr. A. G. Butler 


1914-1 


»'«{£, “a. 


Newman 
G. Butler 


„ c /Miss R. Alderson 
1916-19.9 | Dr a g Botler 

Dr. L. Lovell-Keays 
9 Dr. A. G. Butler 

1921-1922 J. Lewis Bonhote 
1923-1948 Miss E. Maud Knobel 
1949- A. A. Prestwich 


ASSISTANT SECRETARY 
[950- Miss Kay Bonner. 


TREASURERS 


1894-1897 

1897-1899 

1899-1901 

1901-1906 

1906-1913 

I9I3-I9D 


H. R. Fillmer 
O. E. Cresswell 
J. Lewis Bonhote 
W. H. St. Quintin 
J. Lewis Bonhote 
B. C. Thomasett 


1917-1919 

1920 

1921-1922 

1923-1948 

1949 - 


EDITORS 


1894-1896 

1896-1899 

1899-1901 

1901-1907 

1907- 1 908 

1908- 1909 

1909- 191° 

1910- 1912 
1912-1917 

1920 


/Dr. C. S. Simpson 
\H. R. Fillmer 
H. R. Fillmer 
O. E. Cresswell 
D. Seth-Smith 
I'D. Seth-Smith 
\Dr. A. G. Butler 
JD. Seth-Smith 
\ Frank Finn 

{ Frank Finn 
J. Lewis Bonhote 
J. Lewis Bonhote 
The Rev. H. D. Astley 
Dr. Graham Renshaw 
Dr. Graham Renshaw 


1921-1923 

1924 

1925 


1926-1934 

1935 


1936-1938 

1939 - 


A. Ezra 

Dr. L. Lovell-Keays 
J. Lewis Bonhote 
Miss E. Maud Knobel 
A. A. Prestwich 


JR. I. Pocock 
\D. Seth-Smith 
/R. I. Pocock 
t.D. Seth-Smith 
The Marquess of 
Tavistock 
The Marquess of 
Tavistock 
D. Seth-Smith 
D. Seth-Smith 
The Hon. Anthony 
Chaplin 

Miss E. F. Chawner 
Miss E. F. Chawner 
Miss Phyllis Barclay- 
Smith, M.B.E. 


MEDALLISTS OF THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY 

THE PRESIDENT’S MEDAL 

Miss Phyllis Barclay-Smith, M.B.E., 14th March, i960. 
Arthur Alfred Prestwich, 14th March, i960. 

THE KNOBEL AWARD 

Sten Bergman, D.Sc., 14th March, i960. 

Curt af Enehjelm, 14th March, i960. 





SPECIAL 

BIRD P 
FOODS 



FAMOUS 

SINCE 


1823 


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Fortifier 

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Insectivorous 

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3 oz. 

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10/6 

1 cwt. 140/- 

7 lb. 

30/- 


GREENSTUFF 


A dehydrated form of green 
food consisting of lettuce, 
spinach, carrot, etc., readily 
taken by ail birds. 

Packets I/- & 3/6, also sold 
in bulk. 


When sending for above Birdfoods please add for part cost of postage : 

£ lb. pkts. 6d. I lb. pkts. I/-. 3£ lb. and 7 lb. 2/-. 28 lb. and over 

Carriage Paid. 


MEALWORMS 

“ MARBA” DUTCH BRED “SANTA GERMANBRED ” 

(small type) (large type) 

Whether you prefer the small Dutch mealworm or the larger German type, 
we can give you the finest service obtainable, with shipments arriving twice 
weekly. Dispatch guaranteed same day as orders received. 

1 oz. 3/- 2 oz. 4/9 4 oz. 8/- 8 oz. 14/- I lb. 23/6 

Also in original Boxes as imported Nett weight guaranteed 

2 lb. 45/- 3£ lb. 62/6 6£ lb. £6 Os. Od. All Carriage Paid. 


MAGGOTS 

We sell only the best liver-fed maggots, specially recleaned and ready for 
immediate use for bird feeding. Packed in bran. No mess or smell. 

2 oz. 4 oz. 8 oz. I lb. 

3/4 4/6 7/- 10/6 


FEEDING SUNDRIES 


Dried Flies (Chinese) 

Silkworm pupae (Whole) 

„ „ (Ground) 

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Dried Shrimp (Fine, Medium, or Coarse) . 

Ant Eggs. 

Pure Dried Egg ..... 

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Pure Breadcrumbs (Fine, Medium, or Coarse), far superior to 

biscuit meal.2 lb. 3/-; 4 lb. 5/6 ; 14 lb. 17/6 

“ Egg-crumbs,” guaranteed to consist of 90 per cent breadcrumbs and 

10 per cent pure egg . . . 2 lb. 5/6 ; 4 lb. 10/6 ; 7 lb. 17/6 


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25/- 

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28 lb. 28/- 


ALL ABOVE PRICES ARE POST PAID 


E. W. COOMBS, LTD. 

CROSS STREET WORKS, CHATHAM, KENT 

Telephone : Chatham 44969 Telegrams : Avicult , Chatham , Kent 














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We are Specialists in 


Humming Birds and 
Sun Birds 



\Ne have a large number of 
Humming Birds in stock, both 
common species and some of the 
rarer, such as Eugenes fulgens, 
etc. 

Please write for our price list. 
We would be pleased to send you 
our hints for keeping Humming 
Birds. 

Excellent birds for exhibitions. 
Full guarantee of live arrival at 
the airport. Please write to us 
and mention your nearest airport. 

Dealers: We give a discount on 
ten or more Humming Birds. 


ZOOLOGISCHER VERSAND KOLN 

Victor Franck, 5 Koln-Mulheim 2, Postfach 8 
Frankfurterstr. 75-77, West Germany 


Telephone : Koln 66474 


Telegrams : Zoofranck Koeln 









VOGELFARM (BIRD FARM) 

“LADY GOULDIAN FINCH” 

5657 HAAN BEI DUSSELDORF, ALTE LEY 5, 
WEST GERMANY 

Offers Blue-breasted Violet-eared Waxbills ( Granatina ianthinogaster ) 
DM. ioo pair : Melba Finches ( Pytilia melba) DM. 50 pair : Blue¬ 
headed Blue Waxbills ( Granatina cyanocephala ) DM. 30 pair : Black¬ 
cheeked Waxbills ( Estrilda erythronotos) DM. 45 pair : Peter’s Twin-spots 
{Hypargos niveoguttata ) DM. 100 pair : Lady Gouldian Finches, Red¬ 
headed ( Erythrura gouldiae) bred by myself, DM. 75 pair : Red-headed 
Parrot-Finches ( Erythrura psittacea) bred by myself, DM. 265 pair : 
Diamond Sparrows (Steganopleura guttata) German-bred, DM. 80 pair ; 
Long-tailed Grass Finches ( Poephila acuticauda ) European-bred, DM. 55 
pair : Parson Finches ( Poephila cincta ) European-bred, DM. 75 pair : 
Star Finches ( Neochmia ruficauda) German-bred, DM. 45 pair. 

I can also offer in small numbers the following birds, all bred by 
myself or other German aviculturists : Masked Grass Finches, Cherry 
Finches, Painted Finches, Blood Finches, Sydney Waxbills, Bichenow’s 
Finches, Barley Finches, Pictorella Finches, Yellow-tailed Finches, 
Zebra Finches, all colours : also many very rare species of African 
Finches and Waxbills. 

Please refer to my advertisements in all the principal bird papers and 
magazines throughout the world. Please be sure to inform me regarding 
your special requirements. 

Visitors are welcome on Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays. 

All payments to be made in advance by bank cheque or money order. 

Pound Sterling 1 == DM. 11. U.S. Dollar 1 = DM. 4. 

Shipments are made by air-liners within three weeks of receipt of payment. 

All birds are in large aviaries and are offered without engagement, 
subject to being unsold. 


STUDIES ON GREAT CRESTED 
GREBES 

By 

K. E. L. SIMMONS 
Price 5/6 post free 


published by 

THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY 

galley’s wood 

EDENBRIDGE, KENT 




COLOURED PLATES 

Copies of Coloured Plates that have appeared in 
the Avicultural Magazine 

G. M. Henry 

Ceylon Blue Magpie, Ceylon Hanging Lorikeet, Ceylon 
Junglefowl, Ceylon Spurfowl. 

H. Gronvold 

Siamese Fireback Pheasant, Lewis’s Silver Pheasant, Milne- 
Edwards’ Pheasant, Royal and Superb Starlings. 

Roland Green 

Schalow’s Touraco, Violaceous Plantain-eater, Sclater’s 
Crowned Pigeon, Purple-throated Cotinga, Green Broadbill, 
Crowned Wood Partridge (Roulroul), Fire-tufted Barbet, 
Rothschild’s Grackle, Bullock’s Hangnest, Budgerigar (four 
colour varieties), Whitley’s Conure. 

D. M. Reid-Henry 

Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird, Green-headed Olive 
Sunbird, Mountain Blue Robin, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, 
Scarlet Tanagers, Emerald Starling, Wattled Starling, Hart- 
laub’s Touraco, Red-faced Lovebird, Golden-winged Parra- 
keet, Yellow-cheeked Conure, Red-bellied Conure, Lineolated 
Parrakeet, White-bellied and Black-headed Caiques, Brown¬ 
headed Parrot, Green-winged King Parrakeet, Vieillot’s 
Crested Fireback Pheasant, Blue Eared Pheasant. 

Various Artists 

Malachite Sunbird, North Island Pied Tit, Scarlet Fly¬ 
catcher, Plaintive Barbet, Black-chinned Yuhina, Gouldian 
Finch, Yellow-rumped Finch, Motmot, Red Cardinal (two 
freak specimens), Wallace’s Fruit-pigeon, Grey Parrot, Rock 
and Elegant Grass Parrakeets, Falcated Teal, Mandarin Duck, 
Rosy-billed Ducks displaying, One-wattled and D’Alberti’s 
Cassowary (head and neck studies). Group of seven Humming 
Birds, group of six Toucans, Trogons, etc., group of six Lories. 

Price is. each. 

Orders To THE HON. SECRETARY, 

GALLEY’S WOOD, 

EDENBRIDGE, 

KENT. 



















CANDIDATES FOR ELECTION 

Major Peter Bromley-Martin, Elanwye, Builth Wells, Breconshire, Proposed by 
Sir R. Cotterell, Bt. 

Yngve Ejdfors, Relag 7, Vastra Frolunda, Sweden. Proposed by Miss K. Bonner. 
Bertram C. Jones, Zoological Gardens, Clifton, Bristol, 8 . Proposed by Norman G. 
Hadden. 

Arthur M. Latta, McKee Jungle Gardens, Vero Beach, Florida, U.S.A. Proposed 
by Otis Wade. 

James Marshall, Boorooma Station, Nr. Walgett, New South Wales, Australia. 
Proposed by J. Le Gay Brereton. 

A. Menzies-Simpson, Trelawne Manor, Looe, Cornwall. Proposed by Terry Jones. 
Major John A. Moore, Bransgore, Hornash Lane, Shadoxhurst, Ashford, Kent. 
Proposed by F. C. Astles. 

W. Howard Phillips, Bank Farm, Meadle, Aylesbury, Bucks. Proposed by L. W. Hill. 

V. Sausman, 25-A Beniapuker Lanej Calcutta 14, India. Proposed by Charles G. 
Jones. 

Ralph C. Small, 8544 Rockefeller, Brookfield, Illinois, U.S.A. Proposed by 
A. A. Prestwich. 

Mrs. Christine M. Startup, Grove Lodge, Broadwater Street West, Worthing, 
Sussex. Proposed by Frank G. Startup. 

Mrs. John Wainwright, Coconut Grove 33, Florida, U.S.A. Proposed by John W. 
Livermore. 

H. Walshaw, Firs Villa, Rampton Hospital, Nr. Retford, Notts. Proposed by A. A. 
Prestwich. 

W. H. Walters, 017 Santa Cruz Road, Cocoa Beach, Florida, U.S.A. Proposed by 
Otis Wade. 

Brian M. Williams, Oak Mount, Windmill Lane, Balsall Common, Nr. Coventry, 
Warwickshire. Proposed by W. R. Partridge. 


NEW MEMBERS 

The twelve Candidates for Election in the November-December, 1963, number of 
the Avicultural Magazine were duly elected members of the Society. 


CHANGES OF ADDRESS 

I. A. Aird, to 51 Gloucester Place Mews, George Street, London, W. 1. 

Thomas H. Alston, to Rosella Roseate, 111 Queensfield, Queensfield Estate, Swindon, 
Wilts. 

Dr. Benjamin D. Blood, to 6315 Utah Avenue, N.W., Washington 15, D.C., U.S.A. 
Major A. G. Clark, to 7 Thoroughgood Road, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex. 

E. W. Coombs, to Cross Street Works, Chatham, Kent. 

Rainer R. Erhart, to 6312 Laubach, Scholsspark 17, Germany. 

John E. Holzbagh, to Stonycroft, Gelert, Ontario, Canada. 

Michael Kendall, to 34 South Meadows, Wrington, N. Somerset. 

J. H. Noon, to 120 Wills Crescent, Hounslow, Middx. 

Dr. Joseph D. Noshpitz, to 3141 34th Street N.W., Washington 8, D.C., U.S.A. 
Miss Eunice Overend, to Wayside, Feltham, Frome, Somerset. 

Mrs. Emily Ryan, to P.O. Box 22, Rock Tavern, New York, U.S.A. 

K. E. L. Simmons, to Lamorna, Beechwood Avenue, Tilehurst, Reading, Berks. 
Arthur C. Soanes, to 1 Uplands, High Road, Bushey Heath, Herts. 1 

W. ten Have, to Molenweg 10, Haren (Gr.), Holland. 



DONATIONS 


(Coloured Plate 

Fund 






£s. 

d. 

G. Banks 


2 

0 

0 

A. F. Blaauw 



10 

0 

G. Boswell . 


2 

2 

0 

R. D. Chancellor . 



10 

0 

H. Cowley . 


2 

10 

0 

Captain J. E. Dunster 



10 

0 

F. Dutton 



10 

0 

Mrs. M. D. Esson . 



10 

0 

J. J. Gandy . 


3 

0 

0 

Mrs. O. Gent 



10 

0 

D. Goodwin . 


2 

0 

0 

Captain V. Hewitt 


5 

0 

0 

F. E. B. Johnson . 


1 

0 

0 

J. M. S. Lax 


1 

0 

0 

P. A. Lindsay 


1 

0 

0 

Sir Crawford McCullagh, Bart. 

5 

0 

0 

Dr. H. S. Raether 



10 

0 

E. A. Reed . 



5 

0 

M. M. Spinks 



10 

0 

E. B. Tanner 



5 

0 

J. O. Wahlgren 


1 

1 

0 

J. T. Walton 


1 

0 

0 


MEMBERS* ADVERTISEMENTS 


The charge for Members’ advertisements is threepence per word. Payment must accompany 
the advertisement, which must be sent on or before the 15th of the month to A. A. Prestwich, 
Galley’s Wood, Edenbridge, Kent. All members of the Society are entitled to use this 
column, but the Council reserves the right to refuse any advertisements they consider unsuitable. 


For rare birds contact Baidyanath Acooli. Exporter of rare Indian animals. Post 
Box 12008, Calcutta 2, India. 


Wanted. Avicultural Magazine, 1917-1920, inclusive:—A. Birtles, 169 Royds 
Street, Rochdale, Lancs. 


Wanted. Avicultural Magazine, 1925-1953, in wrappers or bound:— A. Rutgers, 
Joppelaan 60, Gorssel, Holland. 


Wanted Urgently. Male Ringed Teal. Exchange for female :—Miss B. Locker 
Lampson, Keeper’s Cottage, Copthorne, Sussex. 


Wanted urgently. Female Indian Golden Oriole (Kundoo) in sound physical 
condition :—R. A. Richardson, Hill-Top, Cley, Holt, Norfolk 


Turacos: wanted urgently for medical research: Red wing-feathers from Turacos 
Bickerton, O.R.C., Poyle, Colnbrook, Bucks. 


For Sale. Red-headed Parrot Finches, £35 pair, Blue-headed Parrot Finches, £15 
pair, direct from Caledonia. Due June-July further shipments, also of rare Green¬ 
faced, E viridifacies, Green-tailed, E hyperythra. Royals, E cyanovirens and new 
species just discovered E colorice . Will be pleased to make reservations strictly in 
rotation. Also other rare birds from Caledonia, Sun Birds, Kingfishers, Flycatchers, 
Trogons, Lorikeets, Racket-tailed Parrakeets, etc. Also rare birds from Malaya, 
Colombia, with Cocks-of-the-Rocks. Quetzals, Tanagers, Sugar Birds, Umbrella 
Birds, Humming Birds of great variety, from Africa, Sun Birds, rare Softbills and 
Finches, also rare Lovebirds, White, Blue, and Yellow varieties, Lutino and Blue 
Ringnecks, Queen of Bavaria Conures, etc. We have been the leading dealers in the 
world for over 40 years and have supplied Zoos and collectors all over with their rarest 
of birds, many new to aviculture. Enquiries to, P. H. Hastings, Ltd., 182 Sultan Road, 
Portsmouth, England, phone 21582, Cables “Rarebirds” Portsmouth. 


STEPHEN AUSTIN AND SONS, LTD., PRINTERS, HERTFORD. 













AVICULTURAL 

MAGAZINE 

yi,u‘>'9z- 


Breeding the Red-faced Lovebird in Denmark (with plate }, by Aage V. Nielsen 
Breeding the Pale-vented Robin, by Charles Everitt .... 

Sex-linked Colour Inheritance in the Zebra Finch, by Russell Aiuto . 
Breeding the Maroon Tanager ( Rhamphocelus jacapa), by W. H. Collard 
Breeding Results at Keston Foreign Bird Farm, 1963, by W. D. Cummings 
The Parrots of Australia: 7 . —The Port Lincoln (Barnardius zonarius) (with plates ), 
by Joseph M. Forshaw ......... 

Scaly-Iegs in Captive Birds ( with plate), by Holger Poulsen 

Breeding the Natal Robin, by Charles Everitt ..... 

Breeding of the Red-billed Francolin, by John Mallet .... 

London Zoo Notes, by J. J. Yealland ....... 

British Avicuiturists’ Club ......... 

News and Views ........... 

Notes. 

Correspondence ........... 

Statement of Accounts .......... 


page 

39 

46 

48 

55 

56 

59 

69 

7° 

72 

73 

74 
74 

76 

77 

78 


OL. 70 No. 2 


PRICE 7/6 


M ARCH-APRIL 
1964 

















THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY 

Founded 1894 

President: Miss E. Maud Knobel. 

Hon. Secretary and Treasurer i A* A. Prestwich, Galley’s Wood, 
Nr. Edenbridge, Kent. 

Assistant Secretary : Miss Kay Bonner. 

Membership Subscription is £2 per annum, due on 1st January each year, and 
payable in advance. Life Membership £25. Subscriptions, Change of Address, 
Names of Candidates for Membership, etc., should be sent to the Hon. Secretary. 


THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA 


Hon. President: Mr. Jean Delacour. 

President : Mr. A. N. Lopez. 

Secretary: Mr. David West, 209 N. 18th Street, Montebello, California, U.S.A. 

The annual dues of the Society are $4.00 per year, payable in advance. The 
Society year begins 1st January, but new members may be admitted at any time. 
Members receive a monthly bulletin. Correspondence regarding membership, etc., 
should be directed to the Secretary. 


THE AVICULTURAL MAGAZINE 

The Magazine is published bi-monthly, and sent free to all members of the 
Avicultural Society. Members joining at any time during the year are entided to the 
back numbers for the current year on the payment of subscription. All matter for 
publication in the Magazine should be addressed to :— 

The Editor: Miss Phyllis Barclay-Smith, 51 Warwick Avenue, London, 
W. 9. Telephone : Cunningham 3006. 

The price of the Magazine to non-members is js. 6d., post free, per copy, or £2 5 s. 
for the year. Orders for the Magazine, extra copies and back numbers (from 1917) 
should be sent to the publishers, Stephen Austin & Sons, Ltd., Caxton Hill, Ware 
Road, Hertford, England. Telephone : Hertford 2352/3/4. 











Avicult. Mag. 



Copyright ] 


[A. Nielsen 


The A. pullaria Family in the Outdoor Aviary (Mousebirds Behind) 

[Frontispiece 









Avicultural Magazine 

THE JOURNAL OF THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY 


Vol. 70.—No. 2 .—All rights reserved. MARCH- APRIL, 1964 

BREEDING THE RED-FACED LOVEBIRD IN 

DENMARK 

By Aage V. Nielsen (Copenhagen) 

On 20th September, 1958, I obtained a pair of Red-faced Lovebirds, 
which I put in a roomy cage (40" X 20" X 24") in our drawing room, 
in order to make them confident. They were rather shy at first, but 
with quiet treatment and by gently speaking to them I soon taught 
them that my hand came in the cage only in order to give them food 
and not to catch them, and that the hand always came in through the 
cage door farthest from them, so that they did not need to panic. 

In the beginning they received the same food as given by their 
previous owner, about which I was, of course, informed when obtaining 
the birds. By and by I extended the list of foods and gave them some 
tit-bits on every occasion. Thus the birds gradually became more 
confident and greeted me every morning with happy twitters. 

On 29th October, 1958, when I came in the room to take the birds 
to a show, I saw the hen suddenly drop down from the perch on the 
cage floor, dead. This was a great sorrow for me as well as for the 
pullaria cock. He cried loudly, and most probably would have cried 
himself to death if I had not taken him to the show, where the altered 
environments, the many other birds, and all the life around him made 
him gradually forget the hen, and on the third day he fed and drank 
normally. After the show I took him home and put him in another 
cage in the vicinity of other birds. 

About half a year later, on 26th April, 1959, after much searching, 
I was lucky to obtain a new, and obviously young hen, whose mate had 
died as suddenly as my hen. After a period of quarantine, the birds 
were put together. They did not show much interest in each other, nor 
any enmity. 

After some days I let the pair fly in my birdroom. This is a light and 
roomy cellar room, approximately 14' X 14' X *]' high. The room is 
furnished with fruit-tree branches and lots of polygonum stems and all 
kinds of nesting receptacles : basket-nests, nesting-boxes, harzer 
wicker-cages, coconut husks, flower pots, etc., placed at all levels from 
the floor right up to the roof. The floor is covered with a thick layer of 


4 


u\imm 

wiimiii 


APR Z Z i%4 








40 A. V. NIELSEN-BREEDING THE RED-FACED LOVEBIRD IN DENMARK 

gravel and upon this sand, earth, oyster shells, peat moss, and wood 
shavings. A small sprinkler fountain is placed on the floor and food 
receptacles are hung all over the room. Apart from the seed which the 
birds scatter from the pots, grass seed is sprinkled on the floor, mainly 
around the fountain. The room is connected with an outside flight, 
27' X 5' X 6' high. This flight is planted with stinging-nettles and 
different kinds of weeds, and furnished with fresh fruit-tree branches 
and a large bird-bath. The outside aviary is only used as flight for the 
birds, all feeding taking place in the indoor flight. 

In this environment are kept about thirty pairs of Waxbills and other 
small seed-eaters, four Diamond Sparrows, one pair of Striped Mouse- 
birds, some Painted Quails, one pair of Bourke’s Parrakeets, and the 
above named pair of Red-faced Lovebirds. The birds all agree 
perfectly and I have never observed any serious fighting about food, 
nests, bathing-, resting-, or sleeping-places. Grey Waxbills, Orange¬ 
cheeked Waxbills, Lavender Finches, Firefinches, Bicheno’s Finches, 
Cuban Finches, Bengalese, hybrids of Grey and Orange-cheeked 
Waxbills, Bourke’s Parrakeets, and Painted and Harlequin Quails have 
all bred and raised their young. Nests have been built free in the 
wilderness as well as in the different artificial nesting receptacles, some 
quite secluded, others in open places. 

Among the nest-boxes there are three of the horizontal type with an 
entrance hole with side aspect to the light. These boxes are approxi¬ 
mately 17" x 7" X 7" high and the entrance hole 3 inches in diameter. 
In one of these boxes the Bourke’s had nested and when the last young 
had left the nest, this was taken down and cleaned and the bottom 
covered with 1 in. layer of peat-moss and upon this a layer of sawdust 
and fine shavings of fir tree in order to be ready if the Bourke’s should 
start again. 

It was, however, the pair of lovebirds, which for a long period had 
been interested in each other, who took this box, and on 3rd August, 
i960, there were two eggs in the box. From that date the hen went in 
the box every evening, the cock roosting outside on a perch just over 
the entrance hole. On 4th August there were still two eggs in the box, 
on the 5th August three eggs, on the 6th still three eggs, but on the 
morning of 7th August there were four eggs. From that date the hen sat 
regularly and only went out from the box for a few minutes twice a day, 
usually early in the morning and late in the afternoon. From the 8th of 
August the cock also spent the night in the box and the day mainly 
in the outside flight, but visiting the box several times in the day 
for two to five minutes, obviously in order to feed the hen. 

On 10th August at 5 p.m. there were still four eggs in the box, but in 
the morning on the 1 ith there were five. The hen was now sitting so 
tightly that I felt most excited, even if I—after all that I had heard and 
read—was very doubtful if I should be lucky enough to see pullaria 


A. V. NIELSEN-BREEDING THE RED-FACED LOVEBIRD IN DENMARK 4 1 


youngsters. My doubts were confirmed. In the first days of September 
I understood that something was wrong. The hen was anxious, and 
frequently came out of the box, in which there were still five eggs. 
On 6th September I believed that incubation had finished, but the hen 
still went in the box, and incubation did not stop completely until 
10th September. During the incubation period I had not touched the 
eggs, only observed that they went darker. I now removed them: four 
were fertile with dead embryos, the fifth was damaged. The size of the eggs 
was: 20 mm. X 16 mm., 21 mm. X 16 -75 mm., 21 mm. X 16 -75 mm., 
21 *3 mm. x 16-85 mm., and 22 mm. X 17 mm. They were all pointed 
at one end, white at the start, but in the course of the sitting went 
creamy-grey, and at the end whitish with grey and yellow tints. 

I tried to give the birds as many different kinds of food as possible, 
in order to detect what they preferred. For this reason the foods had 
not only to be given in separate pots, but I had also to detect which 
birds fed at the different pots. At last I succeeded in placing some pots 
in such a way that the lovebirds got the food first, and thus, to some 
degree, could detect the kind and quantity of their needs. Mealworms 
were one of the food items involved. I had hung up a pot for the 
lovebirds, and in the beginning they took about 50 worms a day. 
Later on the consumption increased regularly, and reached approxi¬ 
mately 200 a day at the beginning of the incubation period. The birds 
were also very interested in apple-tree branches, which were peeled 
mainly by the cock, but also by the hen every time she came out of the 
box. On the other hand I could not find evidence of an increase in the 
consumption of seed and fruit during the incubation period. I still tried 
to extend the list of food, in order to keep the birds in as strong condition 
as possible for further breeding attempts. Of course, I did not expect 
the birds to start again in i960, but events did not go as I thought. 

It seemed that the pullaria pair could not settle down. Several times 
I saw the cock chasing the hen and after a while being kind to her 
again, picking at her feathers and preening her, all the time being 
near her. 

On 23rd September I saw the hen making several short visits in the 
same box, which had been cleaned out and supplied with new peat 
moss and wood shavings. In the evening, however, there was nothing 
to see ; she had raked about a bit in the contents, but nothing was 
either brought in or thrown out. On the following days nothing 
happened, but on the 26th there was a new pullaria egg in the box. 
The hope of a new clutch was not fulfilled, as no further eggs were laid 
in September. On 1st October, in the morning, there was still only 
that single egg in the box, and in the following two days I could not 
examine the box, but on 4th October in the evening there were three 
eggs in the box and my hopes started to grow. On 5th and 6th October 
the hen spent all the time in the box, and of course I would not 


42 A. V. NIELSEN-BREEDING THE RED-FACED LOVEBIRD IN DENMARK 


disturb her, but on the 7th I could ascertain that there were four eggs. 
From that date the hen sat regularly and the cock spent all the nights in 
the box. On 10th October there were five eggs, and in the period 
following I did not examine the box, but I have noted that the hen 
sat, and spent all the time in the box. 

It was not until 4th November I looked in the box and saw three 
living young and two eggs. Everything indicates that the young were 
hatched at intervals of some days, the incubation period being twenty- 
two days. The biggest was most probably hatched on 29th October 
and the smallest one, which was quite small, on 2nd or 3rd November. 

The following days were rather exciting, but on 7th November one of 
the three young, which until then had lain huddled together with the 
thin necks across each other, now lay alone, separate from the other 
ones. I put it back in the pile, but on the next morning it had entirely 
disappeared. Later on it was found dried in the peat moss in the 
box. This was the smallest one of the young, but on the next morning 
both the remaining young lay separately. The smaller of these lay 
on its back and was very weak, both had, however, been fed, and had 
the crops filled with food. On 9th November, in the evening, I found 
the body of the smaller young without head near the nest-hole. The 
biggest and oldest youngster was apparently well, it begged for food as 
soon as I touched it. Nevertheless it was weak the next morning. The 
crop was filled with food, but the youngster died on the evening of the 
same day, thirteen days old. 

Now I went through all my notes, read all my literature on j bullaria, 
and spoke with other breeders, whose birds had had young up to ten 
days old. Everything seemed to point to the fact that the birds were 
lacking something for feeding the young, which they could not do 
without. It was now up to me to find this and hope that the birds 
would make a new attempt in the following year. 

The pullaria pair now settled down to enjoy life for a time, especially 
the nice weather we had at the beginning of the summer, 1961. When 
the long spell of moist weather started I increased the temperature 
in the bird room somewhat, this constantly being about 76° F. (23 0 C.) 
just below the nest-box. For some time I also directed the rays of an 
infra-red flashlamp into the birdroom. I never saw the lovebirds take 
advantage of this offer, whereas some young Waxbills and the Mouse- 
birds often enjoyed the warm rays. The lovebirds’ fondness for meal¬ 
worms seemed to grow more and more. I now gradually increased the 
ration and in May we reached a daily quantity of 200-250 worms. 

The birds now had the following foods at their disposal: Insectivorous 
(softbill) food, canary seed, white, yellow, Indian and Japanese millet, 
niger seed, blue maw seed, hemp, sunflower, oats, millet sprays, apples, 
pears, oranges, grapes, bananas, figs, lettuce, cabbage, dandelion, 
plantain, stinging-nettles, grass seeds in all states of sprouting, fresh 




A. V. NIELSEN-BREEDING THE RED-FACED LOVEBIRD IN DENMARK 43 


grass turfs, fresh branches of fruit trees, sponge cake with glucose, 
mealworms, oyster shells, and mortar which they gnawed from the bird 
room. All was present in large quantities so that the birds would be 
weaned to different foods, if they possibly decided to breed again. I had 
also tried raisins, plums, and apricots, made in different ways, but none 
of my birds were interested in these. The lovebirds and other birds got 
a liking for mixed fruit marmalade, and this is now always at their 
disposal. Sprouted seed, white, yellow, Indian, Japanese, and spray 
millet had earlier been offered in different ways, sprouted seed alone, 
mixed with carrot juice, mixed with the soft food, etc. From 1961 
onwards I have not given sprouted seeds as the birds preferred the grass 
seed down on the floor, which was always eagerly taken, before it went 
green. 

It may seem to be a very wide choice of foods, but it was not intended 
for the lovebirds alone, all the birds in the room took the different 
things, and by and by the lovebirds got a liking for most of the different 
foods, so it has hardly been too much effort. I always tried to find 
further new foods, and one day I thought that the pupae of mealworms 
would possibly have some likeness to the pupae of the termites which 
the birds perhaps take in the wild. It turned out that fresh white 
pupae were preferred to worms and taken first. From June, 1961, 
onwards the feeding-vessels of the lovebirds were filled with three- 
quarters part of mealworms and one-quarter part of pupae. 

About 1 st July, the hen again started to be interested in the same 
nest-box. She sat on the perch by the entrance hole and peeped in the 
box. But not until 4th July did she go into the box for a moment. She 
behaved likewise on the following days ; on 8th July I looked in the box 
and found two eggs. On nth July there were three eggs and on the 
13th, four, and from that date she sat closely and the cock also spent 
the nights in the box from the same date, and during all the sub¬ 
sequent incubation period. On 15th July the fifth and last egg arrived. 

The feeding habits of the cock now changed somewhat. For green 
food he now preferred lettuce and branches of fruit-trees, and hardly 
touched any other kinds . He preferred apple to pear, and orange to 
banana. By and by his consumption of mealworms reached 300-400 a 
day, one-half to three-quarters slice of sponge cake, almost a whole 
apple, parts of the leaves and bark of apple tree branches, and seed. 
All the time he fed the hen diligently in the box, and also for some 
minutes outside when she came out twice a day. 

By a regular inspection of the box, when the birds were outside, 
I was able to observe that in the period from 16th to 31st July the 
five eggs became darker. One of them had a longish dark spot, and this 
showed me that the eggs were turned over regularly. On 31st July 
I had bad luck. I had observed that both the birds were in the outdoor 
aviary, went quickly down in the birdroom, took the box down, 


44 A. V. NIELSEN-BREEDING THE RED-FACED LOVEBIRD IN DENMARK 

opened the lid—and saw the hen sitting on the eggs. Very carefully 
I closed the lid and placed the box back. Nothing happened, but when 
I was on my way out from the room and believed that everything was 
satisfactory, the hen suddenly went out from the box calling loudly. 
Would she go back in the box ? Yes, after the longest half an hour in my 
life, I saw her go back in the box and after a while the cock came and 
fed her as usual. 

From 4th to 7th August I did not open the box, but on the 8th 
I observed two young and three eggs in the box. The young were very 
ugly ; naked, the skin dull, pale yellowish-grey, bills very light and 
weak-looking, and legs and feet very pale, dull, and transparent. They 
lay with their necks across one another. Considering the time of 
incubation they should have been hatched on 3rd and 5th August, 
which agreed very well with their size and appearance. 

It would take too much space to give my notes of this period in full, 
but the following may be of interest :— 

12th August : two young and three eggs in the box. The young now 
have a thin, quite short, pale yellow cover of down, which seems to be 
much lighter than the skin. The upper mandible starts to grow darker 
at the base on the bigger of the young. 

16th August : the down of the young now more greyish ; the base 
of the upper mandible now definitely darker in both young. They have 
grown somewhat and lay with the necks across one another. 

18th August : two young with a quite dense layer of grey down and 
quite small, dark dots on wings and rump. The bigger one tries to 
stand erect, and climbs upon the smaller one, but drops down im¬ 
mediately. Both are on the move all the time. 

21 st August : both the young stand upright in the box. The bigger 
one is very lively, tries to climb up in a corner, and spreads the wings, 
which now have short, dark grey flights. Dark grey, almost black tail 
feathers are growing ; upper mandibles are black at the base, and the 
legs dark grey. The smaller youngster is also very lively, but is always 
bottommost and cannot free himself from the bigger one, which climbs 
upon him in the corner of the box. The parents feed them industriously, 
the young are very well fed, but begging or feeding sounds are not 
heard. The consumption of mealworms is about 490-500 a day. 

22nd August : Walter Langberg has seen both the young to-day. 
They now have grey feathers on the body, a very faint reddish 
suffusion on the head, and some grey in the wing feathers. 

28th August : Dr. Holger Poulsen (Curator of Birds in the 
Copenhagen Zoo) and Albrecht-Moller (President of the Danish 
Cage-bird Society) saw both the young to-day. The young are now 
definitely (bluish) green on body and wings and have a faint reddish 
suffusion on the head and tail. 

30th August : the young lively. The parent birds have taken a bath 



A. V. NIELSEN-BREEDING THE RED-FACED LOVEBIRD IN DENMARK 45 


in the outside aviary. It is the very first time that the birds have taken a 
bath in all the time we have had them. They were so wet that we 
could hardly recognize them. 

2nd September : the young lively, but hide their heads when I open 
the box. They nibble at my fingers when I take them in the hand. 
They are now all green, foreheads and throats only having a reddish 
suffusion ; the colour markings in the tails are clearly visible. Upper 
mandible quite black at the base. I took a colour picture of them in 
the box. 

13th September : the bigger young one left the box to-day. He flew 
very well, but quickly became tired, so I put him back in the box at 
noon, where he stayed for the rest of the day. 

14th September : the bigger young one in the outside aviary all the 
day, but cannot find his way back to the birdroom. 

15th September : the smaller young one left the nest at 6.44. His 
flight is heavy, but he manoeuvres very well and lands excellently on 
branches and the window. The father feeds the smaller young one 
eagerly, but the bigger one has to beg for food. 

20th September : the bigger young one very well developed ; flies 
with the parents, takes a bath with the father in the outside aviary. 
The smaller one flies more carefully and cannot find his way in from 
the outside flight. 

30th September : the smaller young one still cannot find his way in 
from the outside flight. Its flight is heavy and it is obviously well fed. 
It has some green lesser wing-coverts and is probably a hen. The 
bigger young one takes food himself from all the different receptacles 
and flies as well as the parents. Both the young resemble the parent 
birds with the following exceptions : the young are orange-yellow 
where the parents are orange-red. The beaks of the young are black at 
the base, the upper mandible being black at the inner part of the back 
of the bill and light horn yellow at the point. 

7th October : the young have now been out from the nest twenty- 
five and twenty-three days respectively. The smaller one has, for the 
first time, found its way back in the birdroom. 

On 15th October, 1961 : both the young have been on the perch for 
more than a month. I would add that the three eggs not hatched in the 
last clutch turned out to be clear. 

The preceding notes are now about two years old and subsequently 
one of the young—the oldest, a male—was shown at the Danish 
Cage-bird Society Exhibition, 1962. I did not show more than one of 
the young in order not to lose both of them if bad luck should happen, 
but he got the greatest challenge cup and some other prizes in his class 
and went home in good condition, though he was plainly displeased 
at sitting alone in an aviary for a few days. 

The pullaria female laid a new clutch of five eggs in February, 1963. 


4 6 


G. EVERITT-BREEDING THE PALE-VENTED ROBIN 


They were unfortunately all clear and I got an impression that the 
male was, by then, too old. Unfortunately this was probably true, for 
without any sign of disease he died in June, 1963. His previous owner got 
him as a not quite young bird about 1952, and the little bird must 
anyway have attained an age of about twelve to thirteen years, maybe 
even more. 

Now the son and his mother seem to take an interest in each other. 
Every night they sit close on a fixed perch and the younger sister roosts 
alone. During the day, however, the brother and sister keep together 
much of the time, and the “ older ” brother will at any time be ready 
to put up a brave defence if he considers that some danger might appear 
or threaten his little sister. 

This breeding has been admitted as the first in Denmark and been 
awarded the Danish Cage-bird Society’s ( Foreningen For FuglevenneF s) 
silver medal (even a gold-wreathed one on account of the rareness of 
the breed). 

* * * 

BREEDING THE PALE-VENTED ROBIN 

By Charles Everitt (Trenton, N.J., U.S.A.) 

Whilst in Ecuador in January, 1961, Mr. Boehm collected two pairs 
of brown, thrush-like birds, merely identified to him at that time as 
South American Brown Thrushes. This vague classification did not 
deter him for their sweet, low, musical song had captivated his ear. On 
arrival back at the Titusville aviaries they were accommodated in the 
cage-room, where they soon made their sexes known, not only by their 
song but by the antagonism of the males towards each other. Several 
attempts were made to identify them generically but, beyond final¬ 
izing as to their family, no definite decision as to their genus was made. 

The sexes are so similar that one description will suffice. Above they 
are dark russet-brown, slightly darker on the lores and ear-coverts. 
The wings also are brown, with the wing-coverts and innermost 
secondaries dark ochraceous-brown, the same colour as the tail. 
The upper breast is pale ochraceous-brown, fading to ochraceous- 
white on the centre of the belly. The chin and throat are of a similar 
colouring to the upper breast, except that they bear faint brown 
streaks. The under tail-coverts are whitish, with ochraceous edges. 
The flanks and thighs are pale brown. The under wing-coverts are a 
rich ochraceous-brown with the inner edges of the wing quills pale 
chestnut. The legs and feet are dark brown, as is the bill. They are 
about 9 inches in total length. 

It was not until early 1963 that their identification finally was shown 
to be the Pale-vented Robin, Turdus fumigatus ohsoletus, one of the races 
of the Sabian Thrush, Turdus f. fumigatus , of the interior of tropical 









C. EVERITT-BREEDING THE PALE-VENTED ROBIN 


47 


South America. The nominate race is confined to east of the Andes, 
but several other forms, including the Pale-vented Robin, range to the 
southern Lesser Antilles, to Costa Rica, and down the western side of 
the Andes to Ecuador. 

However, to retrace our steps to 1961 when the birds were originally 
received. They were released into outdoor aviaries in April that year, 
one pair to a small aviary of 16 by 20 feet and the other to a larger one 
of some 60 by 30 feet. The first-mentioned pair settled down immedia¬ 
tely and, early in May, the female was observed to be constructing a 
nest in a hemlock tree. It was a typical thrush nest, the outer casing 
being bound with mud, with an inner lining of soft, fine grasses. Three 
eggs were laid over the period 14th to 16th May, of which two hatched 
on 2nd and 3rd June, the other egg being clear. The eggs closely 
resembled those of the European Blackbird, having a ground colouring 
of pale blue, mottled, marked, and streaked with light brown. The 
markings were evenly distributed with no greater concentration in 
any one place than another. They measured 29 by 21 • 5 mm. 

The incubation, which began with the laying of the last egg, was 
shared, as was the feeding of the nestlings. These were pale-skinned 
with pale yellow-brown fluff on the top of the head and down the 
middle of the back. Their gapes were pink, margined in bright yellow. 
The rearing food in the early days consisted entirely of live-food in the 
form of mealworms, supplied hourly, and any insects the parents 
foraged for themselves in the aviary. Development was steady, their 
eyes being open and quills showing in their wings at seven days old. 
On 20th June, with one seventeen and the other eighteen days old, they 
vacated the nest. 

The plumage of the fledgelings was dark brown on the upper parts, 
including the wings, the throat and upper chest being brownish-white 
mottled with dark brown. The remainder of the underparts was clear 
brownish-white. Within two days of their leaving the nest the parents 
started to feed them fruit and raw ground beef in addition to the live- 
food, the fledgelings finally attaining independence at thirty-two days 
old. Full adult plumage was not obtained until they were some six 
months old. 

The pair placed in the larger aviary also reared a brood of two, these 
being hatched in July, and independent by late August. As with the first 
pair, there were three eggs in this clutch also, but only two were fertile. 

It may appear to be a little tardy to write-up a report on a breeding 
that took place over two years ago but, unless one has cause to be 
fairly sure of the identity of the species, there seems to be little purpose 
in just describing a sequence of events in respect of the breeding of an un¬ 
identified bird. Not having come across any reports on the breeding of this 
species in captivity, it is felt that the above information on the nestlings, 
fledgelings, and adult birds might be of interest to other aviculturists. 


48 R. AIUTO-SEX-LINKED COLOUR INHERITANCE IN THE ZEBRA FINCH 


SEX-LINKED COLOUR INHERITANCE IN THE 

ZEBRA FINCH 

By Russell Aiuto (the University of North Carolina, U.S.A.) 

To date, most of what is known about inheritance in birds has been 
confined to the three relatively lower avian orders, Galliformes, 
Anseriformes, and Columbiformes. The first two groups have been of 
interest mainly because of their economic significance, the last because 
of ease with which antigen inheritance in hybrids can be studied. 
Apart from some studies dealing with mendelian inheritance in 
American Golden-winged and Blue-winged Warblers (Morse, 1926 ; 
Parker, 1951), studies in natural hybridization in Towhees (Sibley, 
1954, 1957) and in some tropical species (Williamson, 1957, and others), 
and two studies of merit on the inheritance of mask colour in Gouldian 
Finches (Southern, 1945 ; Murray, 1963), systematic breeding 
experiments in the Passeriformes have been neglected by geneticists. 

Thus, it is necessary to turn to the avicultural literature in order to 
compile a satisfactory amount of information. The Zebra Finch, so 
well studied by many aviculturists, is, genetically speaking, the best 
known species of foreign bird. Members of the Zebra Finch Society, 
notably P. A. Pope, C. H. Rogers, and many others, have made this 
species an admirable subject for intensive genetic research. 

Therefore, in an effort to link even more closely together the related 
fields of aviculture and genetics, and to recognize the many contribu- j 
tions that these noted aviculturists have made directly or indirectly to : 
the field of avian genetics, discussions of systematized breeding experi- 1 
ments with foreign birds are needed. This paper hopes to do this by : 
(i) formally presenting in conventional genetic terms the mutants 
known in the Zebra Finch, and, (ii) reporting on present studies now 
being carried on at this institution on the two sex-linked mutants in this 
species. 

A. Mutants in the Zebra Finch 

The first goal is essentially achieved by the presentation in Table 1. 
Presumptuously, symbols have been assigned for each mutant (as is : 
the convention among geneticists) since, to my knowledge, this has 
not previously been done. Should these meet with the approval 
of noted Zebra Finch fanciers, the suggestion is made that these 
symbols become the standard notations used in reporting genetic 
investigations. The consistent use of standard symbols has been found 
to make for precise communication, and the great bodies of Drosophila 
and Neurospora literature attest to this fact. i 

It is helpful to point out that the symbols in Table 1 refer to mutant ' 
genes, and not necessarily to how the birds look. With this in mind, the ; 
Cream Zebra Finch is not the result of a single mutant gene, but the 








R. AIUTO-SEX-LINKED COLOUR INHERITANCE IN THE ZEBRA FINCH 49 


phenotype resulting from the interaction of genes which separately 
would cause Fawn and Silver Zebra Finches. Therefore, by my 
notation, a Cream male would be DDff or Ddff in constitution, i.e. 
genotypically. 

Table i.—Mutants of the Zebra Finch 


Mutant phenotypes. 

Symbol. 

Action. 

Male Female 
genotypes. 

White 

w 

recessive 

w/w 

w/w 

Pied ... 

P 

recessive 

P/P 

p/p 

Penguin . 

Pg 

recessive 

Pg/Pg 

pg pg 

Blue 

b 

recessive 

b/b 

b/b 

Silver 

D 

Dominant 

DID 

D/D 

Fawn 


sex-linked 

D/d 

f/f 

D/d 

f/o 

Chestnut-flanked 

cfw 

recessive 

sex-linked 

cfw/cfw 

cfw/0 

White 


recessive 




B. Genetic Terminology 

It may be helpful to define some of the terms glibly used by 
geneticists so that future discussions of inheritance of birds will be 
clearly understood. 

In the case of birds, unlike mammals, females are said to be the 
heterogametic sex , since females have both an X and a Y chromosome 
while males have both sex chromosomes of the X type, i.e. are 
homogametic. This would mean, then, that sex-linked inheritance is 
actually “ X-linked ” inheritance—mutant genes on the X-chromo- 
some (the Y in most known cases does not carry any factors, but plays a 
role in sex determination) cause certain recognizable traits. If this 
mutant gene is recessive, or “ masked ” in its expression by the presence 
of a wild-type or “ normal ” partner (usually symbolized with a “ -j- ”), 
then a male exhibiting this mutant trait would require to have the 
mutant gene present in both X-chromosomes in order for the mutant to 
be recognized, or, in other words, be homozygous. If one X-chromosome 
carries the mutant and the other the wild-type gene, the male is said to 
be heterozygous , and cannot be distinguished from a wild-type male. 

Since the female has only a single X-chromosome and does not have 
a “ partner ”, the presence of a recessive X-linked mutant gene will 
always be recognized. All females are said to be hemizygous. 

When speaking of pairs of genes or “ gene partners ”, we are actually 
referring to what geneticists call alleles. Instances are known in birds 
(Asmundson, 1947) where different forms of a mutant are known. 
Thus, if it can be established that more than one mutant gene can be 
at the same locus of a chromosome, we say that we are dealing with 
multiple alleles. Obviously, no more than two alleles can be present in 
any one individual male. In the case of X-linked mutant alleles in 
females, only one of the alleles can be present in any one individual. 





50 R. AIUTO-SEX-LINKED COLOUR INHERITANCE IN THE ZEBRA FINCH 


One other pertinent distinction should be made. All birds (and most 
animals) are said to have two kinds of chromosome sets which show two 
different kinds of inheritance. As mentioned, the X and Y chromosomes 
are sex chromosomes ; all others are present in the organism in pairs and 
are known as autosomes. Therefore, if a mutant gene is carried auto- 
somally, the method of inheritance is the same, whether transmitted 
through a male parent or a female parent. However, in X-linked 
inheritance, a daughter always receives its X-chromosome from its j 
father and its Y-chromosome from its mother ; a son receives one of its 
X-chromosomes from its father and the other from its mother. An I 
examination of Figures i and 2 will illustrate this difference. 

Ease in using these concepts requires careful study over a period of 
time. But, since this information is available and universally used by 1 
scientists, it would be disappointing for intelligent aviculturists who 1 
deal with equally subtle concepts to dismiss genetic terminology as I 
bothersome, and to continue with the less precise avicultural termi¬ 
nology. 


Investigation of the X-Linked Mutants. 

Having been an aviculturist for some time on a modest scale, and 
having had some brief experience with the successful breeding of ; 
relatively <c easy ” species of foreign birds, I began to investigate the i 
possibility of studying the inheritance in a particular species. However, ! 
it may be evident to more experienced Zebra Finch fanciers that my i 
avicultural experience has not been as great as could be desired, since 1 
some obvious misinterpretations, even after extensive reading and j 
communication concerning the Zebra Finch, have crept into this study, i 
These have, where known, been left in this report, since not only is 
experimental rationale illustrated by these misinterpretations and their 
recognition, but their presence clearly shows that future large-scale 
studies in bird genetics, much more sophisticated than this, require the i 
experience and knowledge of aviculturists who have specialized in the 
keeping of the particular group being studied. 

In gathering information on colour inheritance in Zebra Finches, I 
Mr. Pope informed me that he had been unable to obtain chestnut- 
flanked white progeny from nearly one hundred attempts of the i 
mating of ! 

cfw -f males X cfw -f females 


+ f 

The males were assumed to be of the indicated genotypes, since they 
had been derived from crosses involving homozygous fawn males and 
hemizygous chestnut-flanked females. Furthermore, he states that these 









R. AIUTO-SEX-LINKED COLOUR INHERITANCE IN THE ZEBRA FINCH 5 


same results were obtained by other fanciers throughout the world, and 
involved some thousand attempts. For some reason, then, these two 
sex-linked mutants, when present in the same male, cannot be segre¬ 
gated out in equal proportions, as expected, in the next generation. 
That is to say, since daughters receive their single X-chromosomes 
from their father, the expectations would be for half of the daughters 
to receive the father’s X-chromosome carrying f and half to receive 
the father’s other X carrying cfw ; daughters are hemizygous for any 
X-linked mutant, so if any chestnut-flanked white females were 
produced, they would be immediately recognized. 

To a geneticist, this is a fascinating state of affairs ! Since Mr. Pope 
had tried this cross repeatedly, the large number of progeny obtained, 
without a single cfw daughter, rules out chance. Some genetic 
mechanism must be operating. Of the countless known genetic 
phenomena, the one that comes most readily to mind is multiple 
allelism , that perhaps fawn and chestnut-flanked white are mutants at 
the same locus on the chromosome. However, even more bizarre 
phenomena could be hypothesized, as we shall see later. 

From one mating (called “ mating type 2 ”) of a wild-type male 
and fawn female, two unexpected daughter progeny were produced. 
Both of these offspring were completely white, save for a few fawn 
markings on their mantles. They were assumed to be w/w geno¬ 
typically, even though my limited experience to date with cfw females 
had been that they could not be readily distinguished from such w/w 
i individuals, since the faint eye and tail markings of cfw individuals in 
my possession had not always been present. Consequently, while more 
| experienced fanciers would not, I had to assume that these two 
exceptional progeny of mating 2 must be either w/w or cfw/O 
I genetically (see Table 1). 

Figure 1 gives the alternative explanations for the results in terms of 
genotypes, and, with the assumption that a new, previously unrecorded, 
mutation had not occurred. 

In either case, the male parent, although phenotypically wild-type, 
must have been heterozygous for the autosomal recessive white, or 
heterozygous for the sex-linked recessive chestnut-flanked white. 
(I have indicated the heterozygosity of the second case as being in 
terms of the same locus, although it is possible that f and cfw are not 
alleles ; nevertheless, because of linkage, the expectations are similar.) 
If the male parent was heterozygous for w, then the female must 
also have been w/-\-, since white is not sex-linked and both members of 
the pair of chromosomes must carry the mutant gene. The first 
alternative suggested in Figure 1 would not normally be seriously 
considered, since the probability of both parents being w/-\- is far less 
than if only the male parent was heterozygous for cfw . However, both 
parents came from the same dealer, and therefore there is a good 






52 R. AIUTO-SEX-LINKED COLOUR INHERITANCE IN THE ZEBRA FINCH 


chance that both parents are related. Should the male parent in the | 
first alternative of Figure i also be heterozygous for f (not assumed in 
the diagram), these two female progeny could also be ww/O. 

Figure i .—Alternative Explanations to the Results of Cross 2 

(wild-type male X fawn female) i 

+ + + / 


X 








w + 

w 





expected : 

sons : 



daughters : 



+ 

+ 


+ + 





25% 


25 % 


+ 

/ 


+ 



+ 

+ 


+ + 





50% 


50 % 


w 

/ 


w 



w 

+ 


w + 





25% 


25% ** 


w 

/ 


w 


+ f 






X 






cfw 

expected : 

sons : 



daughters : 



+ 



+ 




50% 


50 % 



/ 






cfw 



cfw 



__ 50 % 50 % ** 

/ 

** = observed phenotypes, two white or chestnut-flanked white females, which 
must be one of these two genotypes. 

-— = X-chromosome ; —► = Y-chromosome 

This last possibility is mentioned because of the few traces of fawn 
feathers appearing on the mantle of the two young females, indicating 
that in the presence of ww, f (homozygous or hemizygous) might be 
incompletely penetrant. However, if cfw is a multiple allele of f, one 
would not be surprised to see a few traces of fawn, since the two 
alleles would presumably be at least two steps in the same pigment 
synthesis pathway which are blocked. Nevertheless, the probability 
that both female progeny in one clutch could be wwfO is small, being 
less than 0-4 per cent (as compared to 6 per cent and 25 per cent in the 
alternatives given in Figure 1). 

Therefore, the second alternative is a strong possibility, although the 
first cannot be ruled out. The relative merits of these hypotheses will 












































R. AIUTO-SEX-LINKED COLOUR INHERITANCE IN THE ZEBRA FINCH 53 


become clearer as the missing classes of progeny are obtained and 
progeny-tested ; this may soon be possible, since the original parents 
of this mating 2 are now incubating four eggs. 

In the meantime, these two female progeny have been mated as 
follows :— 


mating 4 : fawn male X cfwO or ww female from mating 2 
mating 5 : fawn male X cfwO or ww female from mating 2 
The alternative expectations from matings 4 and 5 are given in Figure 2. 

If, from any of the above matings, wild-type sons are obtained, and, 
upon mating to a wild-type female, cfw and f daughters are produced, 
then these two mutants are not alleles, nor is the mother ww , as 
indicated in the first two alternatives of Figure 2. If/ and cfw are 
alleles, these sons should be some other phenotype than wild, and the 
question of dominance of one allele over the other would be settled. 
Should the combination f/cfw in males give a fawn phenotype, one 
would still be able to distinguish these from the fawn sons of the 
second explanation in Figure 2, since the former fawn males would 
produce some chestnut-flanked white daughters. Unfortunately, this 
is where we began, since Mr. Pope was unable to obtain such 
daughters ; hopefully, using wild-type mothers (rather than chestnut- 
flanked white ones) might give results consistent with expectations. 


Figure 2.— Alternative Expectations from Crosses 4 and 5 
(fawn males X cfw or ww females) 


+ 

/ 

w 

X 

+ 

/ 

w 

+ 

/ 

w 

X 

+ 

/ 

w 

+ 

/ 

+ 

X 

+ 

/ 

+ 


daughters : + 


/ 


daughters 


cfw 


daughters : 


+ 


/ 

/ 


/ 


/ 


wild 


fawn 


fawn 


fawn 


cfw 

f 


fawn 


+ 

*** if the sons are wild-type in phenotype, and produce, upon mating to a wild-type 
female, cfw and/daughters, these two mutants are not alleles, nor is the mother ww, as 
indicated in the first alternative. 

*** if/and cfw are alleles, these sons should be some other phenotype than wild, 
and the relative dominance of the alleles should be settled here. 











































54 R. AIUTO-SEX-LINKED COLOUR INHERITANCE IN THE ZEBRA FINCH 

Should wild-type sons produced in mating 4 and 5 produce white 
progeny when mated to a sister, then these original female progeny 
must be w/w, and we are not dealing with chestnut-flanked white 
mutants at all. 

If allelism is proved, or still strongly suspected on the basis of the 
types of concomitant progeny obtained, then such extremely complex 
explanations as “ gene conversion ” would have to be considered, 
i.e. the/mutant converting the cfw mutant gene to its likeness when 
both are present in the same male. Regardless, hypotheses suggesting 
that cfw/O females are not produced because they are lethal when 
produced from f/cfw fathers, or that the X-chromosome carrying the 
cfw gene is preferentially excluded from the father’s gametes, are not 
tenable in explaining Mr. Pope’s results. This is because, in the first 
instance, that cfw/O females exist : this alone would prove that such 
progeny are viable, whatever the parentage. In the second instance, it 
must be pointed out that preferential exclusion of a chromosome from 
the gametes can only take place in females, since, during egg formation, 
only one of four replicated chromosomes eventually enters the egg ; 
consequently, since the cfw mutant was coming from a male parent in 
which all four products of sperm formation eventually end up as sperm, 
this second explanation cannot be the case. 

In conclusion, it would be of great interest to geneticists to discover 
a case of sex-linked multiple allelism, and Zebra Finch fanciers can 
provide a great service to the field of genetics by exploring this possi¬ 
bility. As far as I have been able to determine from an extensive, but 
by no means complete, review of the literature, no case of sex-linked 
multiple allelism is known. (Several good cases of autosomally linked 
multiple alleles are known in chickens and turkeys, and X-chromosomes 
in these two groups have many mutant loci.) A possible case of sex- 
linked multiple allelism in the previously mentioned Gouldian Finch 
now appears to be the result of separate loci on different kinds of 
chromosomes (Murray, 1963), involving a change in the action of a 
mutant for face colour by the action of a second mutant locus which 
blocks the production of a carotinoid oxidase enzyme (reported by 
K. Immelmann, personal communication). 

Literature Cited 

1. Asmundson, V. S., 1945. A triple-allelic series in plumage colour in turkeys. 

Genetics 30 : 305-322. 

2. Morse, N., 1926. Mendelian inheritance in hybrid warblers. American Naturalist •• 

60 : 384-7. 

3. Murray, R., 1963. Genetics of the Gouldian Finch. Avicultural Magazine 69 : 

108-113. 

4. Parker, K. C., 1951. The genetics of the Golden-winged X Blue-winged warbler 

complex. Wilson Bulletin 63 : 5-15. 

5. Rogers, G. H., 1962. Year book and bulletin. The Zebra Finch Society. 

6. -1963. Year book and bulletin. The Zebra Finch Society. 

7. Sibley, C. G., 1954. Hybridization in the Red-eyed Towhees of Mexico. Evolution 

8 : 252-290. 




W. H. GOLLARD-BREEDING THE MAROON TANAGER 55 

8. Southern, H. N., 1945. Polymorphism in Poephila gouldiae. Genetics 47 : 51-7. 

9. Williamson, F. S. L., 1957. Hybrids of Anna and Allen Hummingbirds. Condor 

59 : 118-123. 

The advice and criticism of Dr. Maurice Whittinghill is gratefully 
acknowledged. This investigation is supported by funds furnished by 
the Genetics Training Program of the University of North Carolina. 

* * * 

BREEDING THE MAROON TANAGER 

Rhamphocelus jacapa 

W. H. Collard (Natal Zoological Gardens, Durban, S. Africa) 

We were interested to read the recent article in the magazine on the 
misfortune in the attempted breeding of Maroon Tanagers as we have 
at last been successful with this species. Our solitary pair had produced 
two chicks from two eggs twice previously but each time they 
disappeared after three or four days. We suspect that shrews were the 
culprits. We would mention that these events took place in their, the 
Tanagers, temporary enclosure. 

The Tanagers were introduced to their new aviary in the zoo, on 
26th June, 1963. This aviary measures 36 feet long, 16 feet wide, and 
9 feet high, and is also occupied by Yellow-winged Sugar Birds, 
Lazuli Buntings, Nonpariel Buntings, Morning Buntings, Black- 
crested Finches, Marico, Tacazze and Golden-winged Sunbirds. This 
enclosure has been planted entirely with tropical vegetation and has a 
miniature waterfall and running stream. A rough cup-shaped nest was 
built in a tree, about 5 feet from the ground, and the first egg was laid 
on 12th September. On the 13th the second egg was laid and incuba¬ 
tion commenced. The eggs, incidentally, were blue with dark spots. We 
never at any time saw the cock on the nest so must presume that 
incubation was carried out by the hen alone. Both eggs hatched on 26th 
September, and feeding was carried out by both parents and although 
a certain amount of live food was foraged in the aviary, additional food 
in the form of mealworms and white ants was supplied. The parents 
were often seen flying to the nest with small lumps of hard-boiled egg in 
their beaks and we presume that this was also fed to the chicks. 

One youngster left the nest, but was obviously much too young and 
was unable to fly. The second left the nest two days later but stayed in 
the tree very close to the nest. For four days we picked up the first chick 
every evening and returned it to the nest but on the fifth, after a heavy 
rainfall, it died. The survivor is now flying very strongly and in colour 
is like the mother. 


5 


56 W. D. CUMMINGS-BREEDING RESULTS AT KESTON, 1 963 


Other breedings this season have been Blue-capped Waxbills, 
Cordon Bleus, Chestnut Sparrows, African Firefinches, Melba 
Finches, Yellow-winged Pytelias, Crimson-winged Waxbills, Diamond 
Doves, Bob-white Quail, Chinese Painted Quail, Barred Ground 
Doves, Rock Pigeons, Yellow-rumped Canaries, Saffron Finches, 
Yellow-headed Conures, Cockatiels and Forstens Lorikeets. 

Species which we are hoping to breed and are presently sitting are 
Red-vented Bulbuls, D’Arnant’s Barbets, Grenadier Waxbills, Black- 
bellied Firefinches, Golden-crowned Conures, Superb Starlings, 
Chestnut Weavers and Rufous-necked Weavers. 


* * * 

BREEDING RESULTS AT KESTON FOREIGN 
BIRD FARM, 1963 

By W. D. Cummings (Keston, Kent, England) 

Although by the time this goes to print it will be 1964 I think that 
several events of interest ought to be recorded. 

By far the most interesting event was the breeding of the young 
albino Ringneck. With parrakeets, breeding is apt to be a little 
uncertain with delays such as a bird taking three years to mature, and 
a lot can happen in this time, which makes producing a new colour 
variety even more arduous. Finally after obtaining the stock you want 
to use, in this case two young Ringnecks, a lutino, and a green bred 
from lutino X blue parents, you have to find the correct mates for them 
and, last but not least, hope that when put together they will take to 
each other. In all this we were most fortunate. The green was a cock 
bird and we happened to have a spare adult blue hen. This latter bird 
is of uncertain temper and a year older than the cock, and was very 
difficult to pair-up the first breeding year—she nearly killed the first 
cock bird I put with her, a split lutino cock. Anyway the young green 
cock (split blue and split lutino) was introduced to her in the autumn 
when, being a young bird, he was through the moult and the older hen 
was in the middle of her moult, and this being the time when birds 
show least aggression, things went according to plan. This pair went to 
nest this year and produced the albino and a blue young one. 

Now the lutino (lutino X blue), a hen, sister of the green cock, was a 
bit more difficult to pair-up. We had no spare blue Ringneck cocks so 
I paired her to an older green split blue cock who had produced only 
one green youngster two years running, when mated to a blue hen. 
Imagine our surprise and delight when these two birds, a visual green 
and lutino (both split blue) produced three blue young. This made our 




W. D. CUMMINGS-BREEDING RESULTS AT KESTON, 1 963 57 

effort all so worth while, for any cocks among these three young blues 
carry the albino factor and would be a perfect mate for the albino hen. 
We also happen to have a spare young blue not yet fully adult, but 
obviously a hen, to use in case there are two young cocks. So in three 
years’ time we should have three pairs of Ringnecks producing albinos, 
not a bad start. 

We also bred our quota of the other parrakeets, G.M. Rosellas, 
Stanleys, Redrumps (normal and yellow), Mealy Rosellas, Layard’s, 
Blue Ringnecks, lutino Ringnecks, Bourke’s, Turquoisines (and this 
year we bred mostly cocks of these to make up for previous years), 
Splendids (we have now a nice little stock of these), Leadbeater’s 
Cockatoos, Grey Parrots, and Amazon Parrots. Unfortunately the 
Barrabands had all clear eggs and also the Cuban Amazons. We have 
the second generation aviary bred of this latter species, but the cock 
Cuban was not bred by us. Our best breeding pair of these lovely 
parrots were both killed by a breeding pair of Grey Parrots, who bit 
their way through from their adjoining aviary and attacked and killed 
them both in the early morning. 

Of the insectivorous and fruit-eating birds we bred more Blue¬ 
shouldered Mountain Tanagers and also we had a pair of Orange- 
rumped Tanagers go to nest and hatch one young one. This pair 
carried nesting material about all through the summer and finally built 
and laid two big heavily-mottled eggs during early October. The nest 
was open and cup-shaped and built of hay, low down in a small privet 
bush, very much like an English Blackbird’s nest. We did not have a 
great deal of hope over this venture, for the nest was rather exposed and 
after the first cold night the youngster was found dead. It was about 
five days old. We thought the parents were a pair but we have since 
found out that the hen is a Yellow-rumped Tanager, a very closely 
related sub-species, but we have, however, obtained a Yellow-rumped 
cock to pair her with. So we hope for better things next year in this 
quarter. 

We also bred one young cock Rufous-bellied Niltava. We have had 
young in past years from these pretty little Indian birds, but this is the 
first time a young bird has been successfully reared. The Azure-winged 
Magpie, a favourite of mine, laid infertile eggs this year, but this time 
we think we have a more certain cock to pair her with which was bred 
in Scotland by a member of the Society. 

Our pair of Red-hooded Siskins (Carduelis cucullata ), those used for 
producing red Canaries, went to nest this year but I could not get the 
little hen to lay in a proper receptacle or build in a small thicket that 
I made for them, and eventually she laid two or three eggs in the seed 
dish. These I collected and put under my red factor Canaries and 
under the Himalayan Greenfinches (Hypacanthis spinoides ) but they 
did not hatch. 


58 W. D. CUMMINGS-BREEDING RESULTS AT KESTON, 1 963 




However, I was very pleased to have bred eight of these delightful 
little greenfinches from two pairs—although why they are called Siskins 
in all the Indian bird books I do not know, for they are true Greenfinches 
in every way (song and courtship, etc.). I have had pairs of these 
birds for several years now in a big planted aviary, with an albino 
House Sparrow and her mate, but they made no serious attempt to 
breed. It was probably because we had large quantities of chickweed 
this year which I gave daily, and I also noticed they started eating the 
bread and milk and gentles I was supplying for the Sparrows. I think 
it is worth while mentioning the difference in sexes of this species, which 
is very marked when you have adult pairs ; also I can understand why 
the hens are mistaken for immature cocks, for they have quite striking 
check marks and the breast is a distinct yellow for a hen bird. 
Fledgling Himalayan Greenfinches are quite a dull flecked-green 
colour and one can only sex them by the thickness of their head and 
beak, the hens being slightly narrower and thinner. 

The albino Sparrow and her mate had three nests and reared eight 
young of which, to our disappointment, there was only one cock bird. 
We lost one or two of the second nest through various misadventures, 
but when they were ringed, in this case just before fledging, I thought 
they were all hens. However, we now hope to rear some cock albino 
House Sparrows with this young split albino cock, which we think 
should be very pretty. Unfortunately we reared no young from our 
Orange Firefinches, but still have a nucleus of breeding stock after five 
years’ effort. 

I have also been struggling for a number of years with the wild 
Canary or Serin (Madeira and the Canary Islands), the ancestor of the 
domestic Canary, and we have managed to breed a few every year, 
reared by domestic Canaries. The wild hens seem light sitters and desert 
the nest very easily. They are delightful little birds, the size of an 
English Linnet, but with a very powerful melodious Canary song. We 
also bred a few Australian Common Bronze-wing Pigeons and numbers 
of the Crested Bronze-wing, including several of the latter at liberty ; 
also quite a few Triangular-spotted Pigeons, some of which take after 
their male parent who is a form of dilute—they have very small spots and 
an overall vinaceous colour. Finally we also have a sport of the Barbary 
Dove which bred true to type—the White-breasted Barbary Dove. 
A few have the odd white tail-feather, but mostly they are fawn on the 
back with white under-parts—a very pretty combination. We lost our 
breeding hen Giant Whydah last winter and the other hen made no 
effort to breed this year. 





J. M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 


59 


THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 

By Joseph M. Forshaw (Canberra, Australia) 

(Continued from Vol. 69, No. 6 , page 240) 

7. The Port Lincoln Parrot 
(Barnardius zonarius) 

Special Introductory Note 

The data for this paper was largely obtained during a recent visit to 
Western Australia made by the author and a companion. The author 
would like to take this opportunity to thank most sincerely Mr. J. O. 
Mackay for his excellent field assistance throughout. Gratitude is also 
extended to the Western Australian State Fauna Protection Authorities, 
to Dr. D. L. Serventy, of the C.S.I.R.O.; Dr. G. F. Mees, formerly of the 
Western Australian Museum ; Mr. J. Ford, State Secretary for the 
R.A.O.U.; and Mr. R. Breeden, of Busselton, for their valuable aid. 
Many graziers, farmers, and local inhabitants assisted in various ways. 
The help of these people contributed largely to the scientific success of 
this trip. 

* * * 

The western representative of the genus Barnardius is the Port 
Lincoln Parrot. Originally described by Shaw in 1805 from a specimen 
collected near Port Lincoln, S.A., it was named the Zoned Parrot 
because of the yellow abdomen. This characteristic was also incor¬ 
porated into the specific name, zonarius being tabulated. Possessing all 
the properties of a broadtail it was later placed in the genus Platycercus, 
where it remained until 1854, when Bonaparte instituted Barnardius. 

The adult male Port Lincoln Parrot presents a striking plumage 
coloration of green and yellow strongly offset by a grey-black head. 
The back and wings are brilliant green, while bluish-green is the colour 
of rump, upper tail-coverts and lesser wing-coverts. The outer wing- 
coverts are yellowish-green. The primary coverts and primaries are 
dark brown becoming paler at the tip, while the outer sides are dark 
blue. The central tail feathers are green shading to blue at the tips, 
while the secondary tail feathers are dark blue on the outer edges 
changing to greenish-brown on the inner edges with very pale blue 
tips, giving the characteristic Platycercine effect when the tail is fanned. 
Dull black is exhibited by the head, nape, and upper ear-coverts, while 
the lower ear-coverts are blue. There is a yellow collar on the hind 
neck. The throat and chest are bluish-green, while the abdomen is 
yellow merging to a yellowish-green on the under tail-coverts and vent. 
Some individual birds will show a red frontal band and this will be 
discussed fully later in this paper. It is a medium-sized bird showing 
many size variations depending on the locality. The following measure¬ 
ments obtained from specimens collected by the author near Balladonia, 


6o 


J. M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 



W.A., and Dowerin, W.A., could be considered as being near the largest 
variations likely to be encountered. These birds were examined on the 
6th and 8th March, 1963. 


Total 



Length. 

Wingspan. 

Wing. 

Tail. 

Culmen. 

Tarsus. 


ins. 

ins. 

ins. 

ins. 

ins. 

ins. 

Mature male 

15-2 

21 *o 

6-85 

7-65 

o *9 

o -75 

Mature female . 

H '5 

20-4 

6*75 

7-25 

o *75 

o -75 

Immature male . 

15-25 

21*0 

6-75 

7*75 

o-8 

o-8 


Bill greyish-white, iris brown, and feet grey. 


Systematic Discussion 

Barnardius zonarius zonarius , the typical subspecies, is the race whose 
description is given above. The range of this race is governed by the 
status granted to other variations. With the systematic arrangement 






J. M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 


6 


used in this paper the distribution becomes very widespread, extending 
from the Tennant Creek area of Northern Australia to Port Lincoln, 
S.A., and across the southern parts of the continent to the central 
portions of Western Australia. 

S.A. White tabulated Barnardius zonarius myrtae in 1915 from a male 
collected at Horseshoe Bend, Finke River, Central Australia. It was 
reported to differ from B. z- zonarius in being a somewhat larger bird 
and having a much brighter coloration throughout. The feathers of 
the chest were a much brighter green while the rump and upper tail 
coverts were a very bright yellowish-green. The range was given as 
extending from Oodnadatta, S.A., north to the MacDonnell Ranges 
and west to the Musgrave and Everard Ranges. This range was 
subsequently enlarged by the field work of other ornithologists. 
Although Mathews (1927) rejected this race, Peters (1937) and 
Condon (1941 and 1962) accepted it as valid. The author is unable to 
find any justification in the retention of this variation and must agree 
with Mathews in making it synonymous with B. z- zonarius . Conflicting 
reports on the plumage of the birds from the central regions seems to 
indicate that the populations represented by White’s original descrip¬ 
tion are not constant. McGilp (1944) and others have stated that the 
colours of the plumage of these birds were not as vivid or bright as those 
of the southern representatives. The author carefully examined the 
skins in the Australian Museum, Sydney, and could not find evidence 
to uphold the validity of this race. 

In 1830 Quoy and Gaimard described Barnardius zonarius semitorquatus 
as a distinct species. This bird retained its specific status until i960 
when the R.A.O.U. Checklist Committee correctly reduced it to form 
a race of B. zonarius. This sub-species differs from the nominate race in 
having the underparts entirely green, in its larger size and in the more 
constant possession of a strong crimson frontal band. The larger size 
is illustrated by the following measurements of two specimens collected 
at Busselton, W.A., and Cranbrook, W.A., on the 14th March, 1963. 

Total 



Length. 

Wingspan. 

Wing. 

Tail. 

Culmen. 

Tarsus. 


ins. 

ins. 

ins. 

ins. 

ins. 

ins. 

Mature male 

, 16-6 

23-0 

7*5 

7*75 

1 -o 

o*8 

Mature female . 

16 • 2 

22*2 

7-2 

8-25 

1 -o 

o-8 


Bill greyish-white, iris dark brown, and feet grey. The range of this 
race is restricted to the coastal forest areas of south-western Australia. 

The existence of a geocline series connecting the typical race to 
B. z* semitorquatus has given rise to disagreement among authorities 
regarding the validity of two subspecies. Intermediate forms inhabit the 
eastern region of central Western Australia. These birds show a 
gradual size increase from east to west, while the plumage shows 
affinities to both zonarius and z* semitorquatus. 


62 


J. M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 


Mathews, in 1912, tabulated Barnardius zonarius dundasi from a 
specimen collected at Lake Dundas, W.A. This race was said to differ 
from B. z • semitorquatus in lacking the red frontal band and from the 
typical subspecies in the deep green of the upper surface. The range 
was given as the County of Dundas, Western Australia. 

From a specimen collected at Woolundra, Western Australia, 
Mathews described Barnardius zonarius woolundra in 1919. This sub¬ 
species was reported as differing from B. z* semitorquatus in having a 
broad yellow band on the lower breast, in being much lighter on the 
back and with the vent a much lighter green. No distribution was 
given but it is apparent that the central wheat belt region east of Perth, 
from whence the type was collected, was understood to be the range. 

Peters (1937) recognized z . dundasi and declared z* woolundra to be a 
synonym of it. Cain (1955) dismissed both these intermediate races. 
Condon (1941) rejected z* woolundra , incorporating it into z* semi¬ 
torquatus, and registered doubt as to the authenticity of z- dundasi , 
suggesting it should be combined with the typical subspecies. This 
arrangement is completely unacceptable when the geographical 
positions of the type localities are considered and the plumage 
differences are carefully examined. Lake Dundas is further east than is 
Woolundra and it is most difficult to formulate any theory explaining 
how development of these races could have occurred holding affinities 
to the ends of the clinal series most distant in geographical position. 
Both z- dundasi and z . woolundra are completely variable in the yellow 
of the abdomen and in the red frontal band. 

During a recent visit to Western Australia the author examined very 
carefully specimens of Barnardius zonarius from every locality, both in the 
field and in the extensive skin collection at the Museum. The conclu¬ 
sion drawn from these studies is that both z> dundasi and z . woolundra 
should be incorporated into the nominate race. It is true that the 
influence of z* semitorquatus may be obvious in both races, but these 
populations resemble z> zonarius in having yellow on the abdomens. 
This characteristic is the distinguishing feature, because the red 
frontal band is completely variable even within the birds of the south¬ 
western coastal forests and is often displayed as a sexual difference. 
Neither z . woolundra nor £. dundasi is constant in its properties and hence 
cannot be considered as a valid race. As each population has the 
characteristic yellow on the abdomen, variable in size as it may be, 
each must be placed in the appropriate subspecies, which is z- zonarius . 

A. J. Campbell collected specimens of the Port Lincoln Parrot at 
Champion Bay, Western Australia, in 1889 an d noticed that, although 
they resembled the typical birds of South Australia, they were smaller 
in size and much duller in colour. These specimens were forwarded 
to Salvadori but he identified them as belonging to the nominate race. 
In 1893 two specimens taken near Roebourne, north-western Australia 






J. M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 


63 


in 1889 were referred to A. J. North as immature B. z- zonarius. On 
comparing these skins with those of the typical race in the Australian 
Museum, North decided that they were, in fact, a distinct subspecies. 
He therefore tabulated Barnardius zonarius occidentalis with a female from 
Roebourne as the type. The smaller size and strong dilution of plumage 
were the distinguishing features. This dullness in colour is particularly 
noticeable in the blue of the lower ear-coverts and in the lemon-yellow 
of the abdomen. The vent is also lemon-yellow instead of greenish- 
yellow. The range of this acceptable race is north-western Australia. 

From a bird taken at East Murchison, Western Australia, Mathews 
described Barnardius zonarius connectens as the race inhabiting the 
Murchison River district of W.A. It was reported to differ from 
Z. occidentalis in having a darker rump and abdomen. These characters 
were actually far too absolute in the description, as they are completely 
variable in this population, which is intermediate between £. zonarius 
and z- occidentalis. This lack of uniformity in its plumage renders this 
subspecies unacceptable and it should be dismissed. 


General Discussion 

Barnardius zonarius enjoys a very widespread range, being found from 
Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, north to Tennant Creek, across the 
southern part of Australia to the south-western coastal areas and north 
along the immediate west coast to Onslow, W.A. Throughout this 
range the bird is quite common and in some areas almost reaches 
plague proportions. As may be expected with such a vast distribution, 
all types of country ranging from arid Mulga and Myall areas to dense 
coastal forests are inhabited by this species. 

All B. zonarius , irrespective of plumage, inhabiting Western Australia 
are known in that state as Twenty-eight Parrots. This name originated 
from the phonetic translation of the call of B. z. semitorquatus . This call 
is more or less restricted to the birds of the forest areas of the south-west. 
These birds, the true £. semitorquatus , are found south-west of a line 
from Perth to just west of Albany. In this paper the name Twenty-eight 
Parrot refers to the “ all-green ” bird from this restricted humid zone. 

Whenever the Port Lincoln Parrot is met with in the field one seems 
to obtain the opinion that it is a very strong species and is much 
superior to the other member of the genus. One of the foremost reasons 
for this impression is the adaptability of the species regarding habitat. 
It is plentiful in the rich coastal forests, in the semi-arid Eucalyptus 
dominant wheat-growing areas, in the arid Heath, Mulga, and Acacia 
regions, and in the very dry, sparsely vegetated spinfex country in the 
north of Western Australia. In all these regions the bird is plentiful and 
is maintaining its numbers. 

Generally observed in pairs or small flocks, this splendid parrot 


64 


J. M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 


impresses the field observer as one of the most striking of Australia’s 
birds. The black head bordered by a vivid yellow collar stands out 
strongly against the natural surroundings making the bird somewhat 
easy to observe. Unlike B. harnardi it is quite a noisy species and this also 
tends to further simplify its detection. The birds are usually found 
feeding on the ground or in the branches of trees and shrubs. When 
disturbed they call excitedly and proceed to investigate the danger 
before flying away. When in flight the brilliant green of the body and 
the deep blue on the primaries are exhibited to perfection. 

The flight is undulating and comparatively swift. The wings are left 
extended between beats as the bird flies close to the ground. When 
alighting the tail is fanned as with the other broadtails. The Twenty- 
eight Parrot often flies at a considerable height over the topmost 
branches of the tall forest trees. 

The usual call of the Port Lincoln Parrot is a high-pitched whistle 
note repeated several times in quick succession. It is of a slightly 
higher pitch than that of B. barnardi. B. z • semitorquatus also has a three 
note call with the last note of a higher pitch than the first two. This 
call resembles the words “ twenty-eight ” and is responsible for this 
vernacular appellation being given to the race. A harsh screech-like call 
is given when alarmed, while a soft chattering will often be emitted 
when feeding. 

Undoubtedly one of the major properties permitting the wide range 
of habitats is the adaptation this species shows in its feeding habits. The 
birds of the inland drier regions feed on seeds of grasses and herbaceous 
plants, while the inhabitants of the south-west forest area show a marked 
preference for fruits of Eucalyptus and other native trees. The stomach 
and crop contents of the afore-mentioned birds collected by the author 
at Balladonia and Dowerin, W.A., consisted of eucalyptus seeds, small 
grass seeds, and some vegetable matter. Three specimens collected in 
Central Australia in 1935 had small grass seeds, vegetable matter, and 
grit in their crops. On the other hand the crops of the two specimens of 
B. z- semitorquatus mentioned above contained vegetable matter, pieces 
of Eucalyptus fruit, pieces of berries from the White Cedar Tree ( Melia 
azederach ) and a few small grass seeds. This preference for succulent 
fruits and berries has been illustrated by all observations carried out 
on the feeding of the Twenty-eight Parrot. Robinson (i960) gives a 
detailed account of these birds feeding on the fruit of the Marri 
(.Eucalyptus calophylla) . They attack the fruit when about half ripe and 
tear it apart with their powerful bills. They also remove the outer 
covering of the fruit just prior to its ripening. Unlike the Red-capped 
Parrot (Purpureicephalus spurius) B. z . semitorquatus is not interested in the 
hardened bowl-like ripe nuts. The Twenty-eight Parrot is also very 
quick to investigate the food value of all non-indigenous plants. 
Grapes, melons, apples, almonds, and citrus fruits are all consumed in 


Avicult. Mag, 



Copyright ] [/. Warham 

Female Port Lincoln Parrot Emerging from the Nesting Hollow 


[To face p . 64 





Avicult. Mag, 



To face p . 65 


Copyright ] [/. M . Forshaw 

Salmon Gum and Scrub Country Near Balladonia, Western Australia : Haunt of Barnardius zonarius 




J. M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 


65 


large quantities, thus necessitating the destruction of many birds by 
orchardists and farmers. It rivals the lorikeets in the quantity of nectar 
consumed while the gums are in flower. The flowers are crushed in the 
bill and the nectar thus obtained consumed. One specimen, collected 
from a flock feeding on the flowers of a Karri (Eucalyptus diversicolor ), 
gave a flow of nectar from the bill when held up by the feet. These noisy 
large green birds with their black heads and brilliant yellow collars 
present an unforgettable sight when observed feeding in numbers in a 
large flowering tree. 

Generally to be considered a resident species, the Port Lincoln 
Parrot is subject to some movement in the inner areas. This movement 
is governed by the availability of water. As the dry period approaches, 
the birds of the desert and sandhill country of the inland regions retreat 
to the large rock-holes which hold water throughout the year. In other 
areas they will often travel long distances each day to drink. 

With the possible exception of B. z- semitorquatus, the Port Lincoln 
Parrot is not an easy bird to sex. Immatures and females are generally 
duller than the males, particularly in the black of the head. Immatures 
are usually distinguishable in the difference of the upper mandible. 
The female has a narrow pointed mandible while that of the male is 
broad and rounded. However, this difference becomes less noticeable 
as the birds mature. The Twenty-eight Parrot is somewhat easier to 
sex, the males being very large birds with a flat head and a massive 
broad bill, while the female has a small rounded head and narrow 
pointed bill. The male of this race almost invariably possesses a vivid 
crimson frontal band while those of the females and immatures are 
considerably reduced in both extent and intensity. With the other races 
the red on the forehead is completely variable, but most immatures 
show at least a few red feathers. The “ wing-stripe 55 is of little 
importance with this species. All immature females show the stripes 
but the majority of males do not have it. It is absent in all adult males 
and most mature females. This species differs markedly from B. barnardi 
in the loss of the “ wing-stripe ”. 

As would be expected the mating display resembles very closely that 
of the Mallee Ringneck Parrot. The male bows slightly before the 
female and raises the wings in the folded position. The tail is fanned and 
moved from side to side in a most agitated manner. The head is often 
bobbed up and down accompanied by a constant chattering call. As 
the breeding season approaches much fighting and arguing breaks out 
as pairs seek nesting sites and set up breeding territories. 

August and September reward the observer with records of feverish 
activity as the birds inspect prospective nesting hollows. Every hollow 
limb and hole in the branches of Eucalyptus trees is inspected by the 
homeseekers. The parrot will poke his head into the entrance to the 
hollow and if it has possibilities he will enter for a careful examination. 





66 


J. M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 


These actions are accompanied by much noisy chattering and tail- 
wagging. On selecting a suitable nesting hollow the birds set about 
preparing it for the laying of the eggs. The bottom is lined with 
powder-fine decayed wood and a shallow excavation is made for the 
eggs. The hollow itself may be in a dead or living tree and at varying 
heights from the ground. In favourable seasons, when a very high 
nesting population is evident, hollows in stumps and fence posts are 
used. 

During his recent travels through the Western Australian wheat-belt 
areas the author noticed the large numbers of hollows in the Salmon 
Gums (Eucalyptus salmonophloia) . It was readily perceived that this 
ample supply of nesting sites was available almost entirely to the Port 
Lincoln and Regent ( Polytelis anthopeplus) Parrots. With the absence of 
the introduced Starling ( Sturnus vulgaris) and House Sparrow ( Passer 
domesticus) these parrots are at a distinct advantage and this lack of 
formidable opposition in finding nesting sites undoubtedly contributes 
largely to the abundance of these psittacines. 

Four to seven, usually five, pure white eggs are laid. These are 
rounded oval in shape with a fine texture and a glossy surface. However, 
this glossy surface is quickly lost through nest staining. An egg with 
the measurements i • 21 in. x 0*93 in. would be average. The eggs of 
B. z • semitorquatus are slightly larger, the average measurements being 
1 • 24 in. X i*o in. 

The female commences incubation after the laying of the second egg. 
She sits for approximately three weeks before the eggs hatch. During 
this time the male usually roosts in a nearby tree ready to give warning 
of any danger. He is joined by his mate for short periods in the early 
morning and late afternoon when food and water are taken. White 
down covers the newly-hatched nestlings. During the first few days the 
young are very closely brooded by the female, but as they progress the 
cock assumes his share of domestic duties. The young leave the nest 
approximately five weeks after hatching and remain with their 
parents. After leaving the nest and while learning to fend for themselves 
the new arrivals are fed regurgitated food by their parents. 

As to be expected young birds and family parties may be observed 
at varying times of the year throughout the different regions. The usual 
breeding season for the southern and central populations extends from 
August to February, and if conditions are favourable two broods will be 
reared. Birds from the northern extremities of the range generally 
commence breeding as early as June or July. 

Because of its abundance in the natural state, the Port Lincoln 
Parrot is not often bred in captivity in this country. However, it is kept 
successfully in many overseas countries and appears to be a more 
satisfactory species than the Mallee Ringneck Parrot. New arrivals 
should, of course, be carefully guarded against chills, but once settled 








J. M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 


67 


down they are very hardy and should thrive given suitable conditions. 
As with B. barnardi this species is very pugnacious towards other birds 
and spends much time tearing apart perches and any timber framework 
in the aviary. B. z- semitorquatus is by far the worst offender in both 
spheres. 

In Western Australia this bird is commonly kept in cages because of 
its whistling capabilities. Nestlings are then hand-reared, but as they 
mature they become fearless in their disposition and quite hostile. 
Hand-reared birds seldom make satisfactory breeding stock for an 
aviary. 

The diet of captive birds should be a well balanced composition of 
seeds, fruit, and green food. The seed mixture recommended is 
sunflower seeds, oats, wheat, plain canary seed, and millet in the 
proportions of 2 : 1 : 1 : 2 : 1, while maize (corn) will be eaten by 
most birds. Fruit in the form of apples, grapes, oranges, and cherries 
should be offered regularly. Berries from shrubs such as Pyracantha 
and Hawthorn will be appreciated, while a daily supply of twigs and 
leaf-bearing branches will satisfy the bird’s whittling desires. This 
species will often accept mealworms and aviculturists should experi¬ 
ment with this. A plentiful supply of green food and grit should be 
maintained. 

For breeding purposes a pair of B. zonarius should be placed in a 
separate flight, which is far removed from any aviary containing other 
members of the Platycercinae. A choice of nesting logs and boxes should 
be encouraged and once nesting has commenced the birds should be 
disturbed only when necessary. If the female commences to sit on a 
second clutch of eggs the young of the first nest should be removed from 
the aviary as soon as possible. 

Hybridization involving this species is comparatively rare both in 
the natural state and in aviculture. Hybrids with Barnardius barnardi 
and the Platycercus sp. are most frequently bred in captivity. There are 
records of inter-subspecific breeding but these are of little importance. 

Whether observed rising from the borders of an outback country 
road, flying through the giant Jarrah ( Eucalyptus marginata ) trees, 
feeding on a spinifex covered sand dune, roosting in a Mallee Gum, or 
strutting through the stubble of a recently harvested wheat crop, the 
Port Lincoln Parrot presents a striking contrast against the 
surroundings. A vivacious manner further enhances this bird’s appeal 
and makes Barnardius zonarius one of the most impressive of “ the parrots 
of Australia 


BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Alexander, W. B. “ The Birds of the Swan River District, Western Australia,” The 
Emu, Vol. 20, No. 3, 1921. 

Gain, A. J. “ A Revision of Some Parrots ”, The Ibis, Vol. 97, No. 3, 1955. 

Campbell, A. J. Nests and Eggs of Australian Birds, Part II, 1901. 


68 


J. M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 


Carter, T. “ Remarks and Notes on Some Western Australian Birds ”, The Emu, 
Vol. 21, No. i, 1921. 

Cayley, N. W. Australian Parrots, 1938. 

Condon, H. T. “ A Handlist of the Birds of South Australia ”, The South Australian 
Ornithologist, Vol. 23, Parts 6-8, 1962. 

-“ The Australian Broad-tailed Parrots ”, Records of South Aust. Museum, Vol. 7, 

pp. 117-14U I 94 i- 

Jenkins, C. F. “ The Genus Barnardius ”, The Emu, Vol. 30, No. 4, 1931. 

Kinghorn, J. R. “ Barnardius occidentalis North and its Allies ”, The Emu, Vol. 29, 
No. 1, 1929. 

Lea, A. M., and Gray, J. T. “ The Food of Australian Birds, Part II ”, The Emu, 
Vol. 35, No. 1, 1935. 

Lendon, A. H. “ The ‘ Wing-Stripe ’ as an Indication of Sex and Maturity in the 
Australian Broad-tailed Parrots ”, Avicult. Mag., 5th Series, Vol. 6, No. 5, 
I 94 I * 

•- Australian Parrots in Captivity, 1951. 

Mathews, G. M. “ A Reference-List to the Birds of Australia ”, Novitates fjoologicae, 
Vol. 18, No. 3, 1912. 

-“ Barnardius zonarius woolundra, subsp. nov.”, Bulletin of the British Ornithologists 

Club, Vol. 40, No. 245, 1919-20. 

- Systema Avium Australasianarum, 1927. 

McGilp, J. N. “ Birds of the Musgrave Ranges ”, The Emu, Vol. 34, No. 3, 1935. 

-“ Bird Life West of Oodnadatta, South Australia ”, The South Australian 

Ornithologist, Vol. 17, Part 1, 1944. 

Mees, G. F. “ An Annotated Catalogue of a Collection of Bird-Skins from West 
Pilbara, Western Australia ”, Journal of The Royal Society of Western Australia, 
Vol. 44, Part 4, 1961. 

Nicholls, E. G. “ A Trip to the West ”, The Emu, Vol. 5, No. 2, 1905. 

North, A. J. “ Description of a New Species of Parrakeet, of the Genus Platycercus, 
from North-West Australia ”, Records of the Australian Museum, Vol. 2, 
No. 5, 1893. 

Peters, J. L. A Check-List of the Birds of the World, Vol. Ill, 1937. 

Prestwich, A. A. Records of Parrots Bred in Captivity, 1950-52. 

Quoy et Gaimard. Voyage de VAstrolabe, foologie, Vol. 1, p. 237, 1830. 

R.A.O.U. “ Eighth Supplement to the Official Checklist of the Birds of Australia ”, 
The Emu, Vol. 60, No. 2, i960. 

Robinson, A. “ The Importance of the Marri as a Food Source to South-Western 
Australian Birds ”, The Western Australian Naturalist, Vol. 7, No. 5, i960. 

Sedgwick, E. H. “ Bird Movements in the Wheatbelt of Western Australia ”, The 
Western Australian Naturalist, Vol. 2, No. 2, 1949. 

Serventy, D. L., and Whittell, H. M. Birds of Western Australia, 3rd Edition, 1962. 

Shaw, G., and Nodder, E. “ The Zoned Parrot ”, Naturalist's Miscellany, Vol. 16, 
1804-05. 

White, S. A. “ Scientific Notes on an Expedition Into the North-Western Regions 
of South Australia, (d) Aves ”, Transactions and Proceedings of Royal Society of 
South Australia, Vol. 39, p. 745, 1915. 

-——Field Ornithology in South Australia ”, The Emu, Vol. 12, No. 1, 1912. 

-- “ Four Ornithological Trips to the Nullabor Plains ”, The Emu, Vol. 18, No. 3, 

I 9 I 9 * 

Whittell, H. M., and Serventy, D. L. A Systematic List of the Birds of Western 
Australia, 1948. 

* ❖ ❖ 







Avicult. Mag, 



To face p . 69 


Chaffinch ( Fringilla coelebs) with Scaly Legs. 





H. POULSEN-SCALY-LEGS IN CAPTIVE BIRDS 


69 


SCALY-LEGS IN CAPTIVE BIRDS 

By Holger Poulsen, (Curator of Birds at Copenhagen Zoological 

Gardens, Denmark) 

“ Scaly-legs ” is a well-known disease in domestic fowls and it also 
occurs among cage birds. Recently attention has been called to this 
foot-abnormality among wild birds (cf. Herman et al., 1962; 
MacDonald, 1962). This foot-disease is caused by mites of the genus 
Cnemidocoptes which live in the skin of the bird’s leg. There is 
excessive proliferation of the epithelium with formation of white crusts 
\ which raises the scales. We have had much trouble with this disease in 
a big outdoor aviary in which we keep a collection of native Danish 
seed-eating passerines. Now and then a bird is observed with thickened 
white crusts on one or both legs, sometimes found both on tarsus and 
toes. The extent and position of the lesions associated with cnemidocoptic 
mange vary. They usually start immediately below the feathers and 
progress to cover the entire tarsus and foot. Sometimes as a result of 
this condition the bird might lose one or more toes or the whole foot. 
In most cases the disease is observed in the beginning of its appearance, 
but it is not easy always to discover the first stage of the disease. 
A more advanced condition of the disease is discovered by the peculiar 
way the birds are sitting on the branches. They are sitting as if they 
feel cold on their feet, in a very low position, covering their feet with 
their belly feathers. Two infected Bramblings ( Fringilla montifringilla) 
were killed and submitted to professor M. Christiansen at the Royal 
Veterinary College, Copenhagen, who made a microscopic examination 
and found mites which he identified as Cnemidocoptes mutans. This mite 
is the cause of scaly-legs in poultry. Not all species which we keep in 
this aviary seem to be prone to this disease. It is mostly found in 
the Chaffinch (. Fringilla coelebs), Brambling (. Fringilla montifringilla ), 
Bullfinch ( Pyrrhula pyrrhula) , European Siskin ( Carduelis spinus) , Redpoll 
(Carduelis flammea) , Twite ( Carduelis flavirostris) , Linnet ( Carduelis 
cannabina) and Skylark ( Alauda arvensis). Curiously enough it has not 
been found in the Yellowhammer ( Emberiza citrinella ), Snow Bunting 
(.Plectrophenax nivalis ), Greenfinch ( Chloris chloris) and Goldfinch 
( Carduelis carduelis) which are in the same aviary. 

As it is a very contagious disease, we watch the birds frequently to 
discover new cases, and the aviaries are cleaned very often and new 
branches put in. If the bird has been found in a not too advanced stage 
of the disease we have treated the sick birds by rubbing or painting the 
infected parts with salicyl-oil about every second day for some time. After 
some weeks the bird recovers again and has normal feet. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Herman, C. M. s Locke, L. N., and Clark, G. M., 1962. Foot Abnormalities of 
Wild Birds. Bird Banding , 33, p. 191-8. 

Macdonald, J. W., 1962. Chaffinch with Cnemidocoptic mange. British Birds, 55, 
P- 42 I- 





7° 


C. EVERITT—BREEDING THE NATAL ROBIN 


BREEDING THE NATAL ROBIN 

By Charles Everitt (Trenton, N. J., U.S.A.) 

A most colourful bird, with its rich cinnamon-rufous and slate-grey, 
the Natal Robin, Cossypha natalensis natalensis, also known as the Red- 
capped Robin Chat, is to be found over a wide area in Africa, ranging 
from the Sudan and Abyssinia, in the Congo and Angola, down into 
Southern Rhodesia, Transvaal, and Natal. Normally with a species 
with such a wide distribution, sub-species are designated from the 
various regions, but the only one of which I am aware is the race in the 
Kenya Colony, the Cossypha n. intensa. However, it is with the nominate 
race that I am here concerned. 

It is about 7 to 8 inches in total length and the sexes are very 
similar. The adult male has a cap of cinnamon-brown, the mantle 
being of the same colour except that it is finely marked with slate. 
The wings are slate-blue and the sides of the face, the rump, and the 
entire underparts are rich cinnamon-rufous. The tail also, except for 
the central feathers, is cinnamon-rufous, those feathers and the edges 
of the outer tail feathers being black. The female is slightly paler on 
the underparts and often is smaller also, but the variations are so slight 
that to sex accurately an individual bird by coloration and size alone 
would be very debatable. They both have a pleasing song, the male’s 
being stronger and more varied, and their powers of mimicry are 
amazing. They can pick up the tune of a human whistle and seem 
happy in partaking in a call and reponse session. Further, they have a 
certain limited ventriloquial gift which can be very confusing when 
trying to locate them by sound alone. 

A true pair of these birds was received by Mr. Boehm from East 
Africa in September, i960. After a period in the acclimatisation room 
they were placed in a planted aviary that, at that time, housed pairs 
each of Fairy Blue Birds, Bronzy Sunbirds, Blacksmith Plovers, and 
Golden-backed Woodpeckers. This was early in 1961 and, later in the 
year, the two last-named species were removed to other quarters. 
The remaining six birds were very harmonious one to the other, but no 
movements in the way of going to nest were made by any of them during 
that year, nor the following. However, in May, 1963, the Fairy Blue 
Bird female started to build a nest in a hemlock on one side of the 
aviary. At the same time the Bronzy Sunbirds began to construct a 
hanging nest in a crab-apple tree on the other side. To avoid any 
clashing between the two nest-building species, it was decided to 
divide the aviary in two, thus restricting their area to 16 by 20 feet, the 
Natal Robins being left in with the Sunbirds . The fact that the Fairy 
Blue Birds went on with their good work is recorded in the article on 
their breeding in Avicult. Mag., Vol. 70, No. 1, p. 18. The Bronzy 




C. EVERITT-BREEDING THE NATAL ROBIN 


7 1 


Sunbirds also finished their nest and laid, but the chick that hatched 
was not reared to maturity. 

It was in July that the female Natal Robin was seen carrying nesting 
material but, being very shy and retiring birds, immediately anyone 
approached they used to disappear into the trees and shrubs. Although 
all these were examined carefully, no signs of a nest under construction 
could be found. It was not until i ith July, when the first egg was laid, 
that the nest was discovered, for the female was seen to leave a hole, 
about 8 feet above ground level, in a hollow tree-stump originally 
placed in the aviary for the benefit of the Woodpeckers mentioned 
earlier. It was only with the aid of a flashlight that the egg and nest 
could be seen, for the hole was 9 to 10 inches in depth. The nest 
appeared to be of the open-cup type, resting at the bottom of the hole 
and made up of dried grasses. Three eggs were laid in all, on successive 
days, and incubation began with the laying of the last. In the light of 
the electric hand-torch the eggs appeared to be coffee-coloured but, 
when an empty shell was picked up later, it could be seen that they 
were blue, washed with olive-green, and heavily mottled in brown, the 
basic colour being almost completely obscured. Allowing for the 
missing cap, it was assessed that they must have measured about 
21 by 16 mm. 

Although it cannot be stated conclusively, it did appear that the 
incubation was by the female alone, since this was the only bird ever 
seen to enter or vacate the nest during that period. As she left the nest 
immediately anyone entered the aviary, it was looked into each 
morning and, on 27th July, three tiny chicks were to be seen. They 
appeared to be covered with brown fluff and had bright yellow gapes, 
margined in orange. Both parents fed the young in the nest, entirely 
on live-food consisting of moths, insects, and mealworms, the male, if 
anything, doing the major portion although he never stayed to brood 
the nestlings, this being done by the female. Their eyes were open 
at six days old and brown feathering, mottled with black, began to 
form on their backs but, owing to the fact that they huddled close 
together in the bottom of the nest as soon as the light was turned on to 
them, it was not possible to get really definite details of this feathering- 
up in the nest. 

At twelve days old, on 8th August, all three vacated the nest and it 
then could be seen that they closely resembled fledgeling European 
Robins, being yellowish-brown, heavily mottled with black. Their tails, 
however, small as they were, were bright rufous, the central pair of 
feathers being black. Although the young birds were kept to the lower 
branches of the trees by the male Bronzy Sunbird, they progressed 
rapidly and the parents soon began to feed them ground raw beef in 
addition to the live-food. By the time they were three weeks old the 
mottling had started to clear from the underparts and their flight 
6 


72 J. MALLET—BREEDING OF THE RED-BILLED FRANCOLJN 

feathers had changed to slate-grey. They were independent at four 
weeks old and, as the male Sunbird was still as persistent as ever in 
chasing them around, they were caught up and removed to the cage 
room. It was interesting to note that, despite the belligerent harassing 
by the Sunbird, neither parent Natal Robin ever attempted to go to 
the aid of the young birds, and neither were they themselves ever 
bothered by the Sunbird. 

On removal, the young birds were caged separate from each other 
and full adult plumage was obtained at three months old. At this stage 
it looks as though they may well be two males and one female. If this 
proves itself, it will fit in very well with Mr. Boehm’s future breeding 
plans, for he has one spare adult female and it may be possible, there¬ 
fore, to breed the third generation without having to recourse to 
inbreeding. 

* * * 

BREEDING OF THE 
RED-BILLED FRANCOLIN 

By John Mallet (Curator of Birds, Jersey Zoological Park) 

In 1962 Mr. Jeremy Mallinson, Deputy Director, returned from 
a collecting trip to a place 80 miles north of Maun, N’Gamiland, Bee. 
Prot. Among the many specimens he brought back were three pairs 
and two female Red-billed Francolins (Chaetopus adspersus), a species 
not common in zoological collections. A pair of these were presented 
to the Zoological Society of London, where they proved to be a species 
new to their collection. They are the size of a partridge, short-tailed, 
speckled grey all over, with red bills and red legs, and a yellow fleshy 
circle round the eye. 

Those at the Jersey Zoological Park (which is now the headquarters 
of the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust) were housed in an aviary, 
25 by 8 feet wide, the floor of which is covered with a thick layer of peat. 
They shared the aviary with a mixed collection of smaller birds and 
soon settled down well. Their diet consisted of : wheat, Layers pellets, 
cut maize, bread and milk, hard-boiled egg, diced fruit. 

They arrived in May, 1962, and courtship between the cocks and 
the hens was noticed early the following year. The cock bird would puff 
his feathers out and make short runs around the hen ; actual copulation 
was not witnessed. The first egg was laid on the 26th February, 1963 : 
about the size of a bantam’s egg, it was more sharply pointed and was 
a dull biscuit-brown in colour. It was obvious that the hen bird was not 
going to sit, so the eggs—six in all—were removed and placed under 
a Silky. One proved infertile, but the other five hatched successfully 
after a twenty-two days’ incubation period. The young closely 

sembled Golden pheasant chicks in colouring and shape. They were 
re 


J. J. YEALLAND-LONDON ZOO NOTES 


73 


fed, to begin with, on chick crumbs with plenty of mealworms, and 
within a few days hard-boiled egg and chick mash was added to their 
diet. They also had bread and milk mixed with maw seed and chopped 
lettuce. At nine days old they started to eat millet and canary seed and 
at eight to nine weeks seed and Growers pellets. They were kept in 
a movable wire run on a lawn. 

As chicks their beaks and feet were brown, but in May they started 
moulting into their adult plumage and their beaks and legs changed to 
the adult red. 

On the 18th August it was noticed that the spurs were starting to 
grow on the young cock birds and by the 28th September the young 
cocks were displaying and endeavouring to tread the hens. 

Since then several clutches of eggs have been laid and successfully 
reared and so we now have a thriving colony of fourteen Red-billed 
Francolins. 

In October, 1963, a pair of these were sent in exchange to Rotterdam 
Zoo. 


* * * 

LONDON ZOO NOTES 

By J. J. Yealland 

Two species new to the collection have recently been received. These 
are a pair of Australian White-eyed Duck (. Aythya a. australis) that were 
bred in the Wildfowl Trust’s collection and a pair of Shelley’s Francolin 
(Francolinus s. shelleyi) presented by Mr. J. O. D’eath. 

There are two races of Aythya australis , one inhabiting Australia, 
Tasmania, New Zealand, New Guinea and as far westward as eastern 
Java and the other, which differs in being smaller, lives on Banks 
Island and “ probably New Caledonia and the New Hebrides ” 
according to Delacour. There are four races of Francolinus shelleyi in 
eastern and south-eastern Africa. 

Other arrivals of particular interest include two Gentoo and three 
Ringed (Bearded or Chinstrap) Penguins presented by the Captain 
and ship’s company of H.M.S. Protector and sent by air from Monte¬ 
video. Mr. Tom Spence presented a pair of Capercaillie, a pair of 
Picazuro Pigeons, a Naked-eyed Pigeon, an Eastern Turtle Dove and a 
Lemon Dove. An Osprey, sent from Aden, was rescued from some 
local people by Chief Technician Haigh of the R.A.F. who kept the 
bird in the hope of being able to release it later, but its flight feathers 
had been so badly damaged that this could not safely be done. 

A Javan Brahminy Kite which attracted some publicity last autumn 
by its exploits around the Bromley area of Kent has been presented. 
The owner bought the bird in Singapore and evidently kept it at 


74 


NEWS AND VIEWS 


liberty, but from time to time it strayed and visited various farms, 
including the Keston Foreign Bird Farm. It was blamed for the 
disappearance of goldfish from garden ponds and as it was, presumably, 
in some danger of being shot, it was brought here where it lives in the 
Southern Aviary with another of the same subspecies that was pre¬ 
sented in 1957. 

Spotted Eagle-Owls which have bred each Spring since 1959 nested 
in mid-December and now three chicks are flying. Kenya Eagle-Owls, 
Black Swans and Cereopsis Geese are nesting and there is one young 
Black-footed Penguin. 

* * ❖ 


BRITISH AVICULTURISTS’ CLUB 


The eighty-third meeting of the Club was held at the Windsor Hotel, 
Lancaster Gate, London, W. 2, on Monday, 13th January, 1964, 
following a dinner at 7 p.m. 

Chairman : Mr. K. Norris. 


Members of the Club : Mrs. D. Ashken, A. W. Bolton, Miss K. 
Bonner, M. K. Boorer, R. D. Chancellor, R. A. Chester, Mrs. W. 
Duggans, M. D. England, Miss R. Ezra, Mrs. R. Goodman, H. J. 
Harman, L. W. Hill, F. T. Jones, Dr. S. B. Kendall, Miss E. M. 
Knobel, J. Kuttner, G. B. Lane, R. F. Marshall, A. A. Prestwich, 
R. C. J. Sawyer, H. A. Snazle, E. O. Squire. 

Members of the Club, twenty-three ; guests, seven ; total, thirty. 
M. D. England showed colour slides to illustrate “ Somewhere in 
Portugal Due to the very bad weather conditions the attendance 
was much smaller than anticipated, but those members who made the 
effort were well-rewarded. 


* * 


Arthur Prestwich, 

Hon. Secretary. 


* 


NEWS AND VIEWS 

The Bronze Medal of the Avicultural Society of South Australia has 
been awarded to : R. W. McKechnie, for breeding the Egyptian 
Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus. 

E. R. McKechnie, for breeding the White-fronted Honeyeater 
Gliciphila albifrons. 

I. Boaden, for breeding the Yellow-fronted Honeyeater Meliphaga 
plumula. 

* * * 

Kenneth Russell writes : “I am pleased to say that I was eventually 
successful with Sierra (Andean) Parrakeets in 1963. A pair laid eight 
eggs in a clutch, and hatched and reared six youngsters, all of which 



NEWS AND VIEWS 


75 


are good birds. They are quite hardy, and the adults have wintered 
out, using the nest-box as a dormitory.” 

* * * 

Mme. G. Swaenepoel informs me that there is at present a collection 
of twelve blue Quaker Parrakeets Myiopsitta monachus being offered for 
sale in Belgium. The price asked is approximately £175 a pair, but 
the owner wishes to sell the whole collection to one person as he cannot 
guarantee the sexes. 

These birds are the descendants of the blues that were in the collec¬ 
tion of the late M. J. Bruyneel when it was dispersed in 1959. 

* * * 

In the last number of the Magazine there was a “ wanted ” 
advertisement for the red wing-feathers from Touracos. Why are these 
required ? A crimson animal pigment is found in the wing-feathers 
of several species of birds of the genera Turacus , Gallirex, and Musophaga. 
It is closely allied to haemoglobin, but free from iron, and containing 
over 7 per cent of copper. The turacin is extracted from the feathers 
and then converted to a porphyrin compound which is of use in medical 
research. 

* * * 


Members may be interested to learn that the Johnson Reprint 
Corporation, New York, is shortly publishing reprints of the early 
numbers of the Magazine. 

The volumes available will be :— 


Series One, Vols 1-8, 1894-1902. 


Cloth bound set 

120.00 

Paper bound set 

100.00 

Single volumes, paper bound . 

12.50 

Vols 1-7, 1902-1909. 

Cloth bound set 

. 155.00 

Paper bound set 

140.00 

Single volumes, paper bound . 

20.00 


The address of the British Branch Office is :— 

Johnson Reprint Co., Ltd., 
Berkeley Square House, 
London, W. 1. 


* * * 


Attempts to build two five-storey blocks of flats in the garden of Ivy 
House, North End Road, Golders Green, the London home (1912-31) 
of the great ballerina Anna Pavlova have been defeated. The new owners 


76 


NOTES 


are the New College of Speech and Drama who intend to preserve the 
property. 

I vividly remember Mme. Pavlova because, in anticipation of her 
return from an Australian tour with a collection of birds, George 
Hedges (formerly curator to Mme. Lecallier) and I constructed a very 
elaborate glass aviary within a conservatory. Great was the excitement 
when, to the accompaniment of popping corks, the birds were even¬ 
tually liberated from their travelling cages. 

In the garden there is a miniature lake which used to have a swan. 
It has often been said that Mme. Pavlova perfected her “ Dying 
Swan ” dance by studying the movements of the swan. This I have 
always thought to be fantasy. It is just as likely that the swan, watching 
Pavlova rehearsing on the terrace, would have gained something 
from her ! 

* * * 

Charles Lucas, President, Avicultural Society of Australia, writes 
(17th December, 1963) : “ The breeding season is now almost ended 
here and I have had good results. 

“ In May I got a nest of three young Hoodeds but unfortunately 
later lost the hen and one of the young ; the father and the other two 
young are thriving. The Smokers (Regent) produced a nest of three 
beautiful young which have been flying for about a month and they are 
all delightful birds. The Princess have a total of nine young all just out 
of the logs ; for some reason I lost no less than five in the logs. The 
Crimson-wings and the Barrabands have not nested to date although 
being driven by their respective husbands. There is, however, still time 
for them to go. I have also reared six Splendids and a small tally of 
Bourkes and Turquoisines. Another pleasing result is nine young 
Red-faced Parrot Finches. The Spinifex Doves again let me down, 
after giving me three nests of two each in 1961. I have also got seven 
well-grown Silver Pheasants, and the Swinhoe has just started to brood 
a clutch of seven eggs, after getting nothing from her first round a few 
weeks ago. The Peach-faced and Nyasa Lovebirds have been breeding 
all the year round and I have been able to keep several fanciers supplied 
with these birds for some time now, thereby making a substantial 
contribution to the seed bill.” 

A. A. P. 

* * * 

NOTES 

Left- and Right-footedness Equally Prevalent in Halfmoon Parrakeets 

I have kept between twelve and twenty-four Halfmoon or Orange-fronted Parrakeets 
(Aratinga c. camcularis and A. c. eburnirostrum ) in captivity for nearly five years and in the 
course of behavioural studies noted prevalence of footedness. In these birds, either 
foot may be raised to the head or to the body to be chewed or to scratch, but in a given 
individual either the right foot or the left is used exclusively for purposes of holding 
food or any other object to be taken in the mouth. About half the birds are left-footed 




CORRESPONDENCE 


77 


and half right. Under no circumstances has an individual been recorded using the 
44 wrong ” foot. It is hoped that in the future, when we have successfully bred captives, 
that studies of the ontogeny of footedness and its neurological bases can be carried out. 
I should appreciate communications from readers of the Avicultural Magazine 
concerning their observations of footedness in these and related species of parrots.— 
Moore Laboratory of Zoology, Occidental College, Los Angeles 41, California, 
U.S.A. 

John William Hardy. 


* * * 

CORRESPONDENCE 

TREATING ’EM ROUGH 

I feel I must write in answer to Norman McCance’s article 44 Treating ’em 
Rough.” I have visited many bird fanciers and dealers who keep, and some even 
breed, birds of all kinds in most unsuitable conditions; some were in filthy surroundings, 
but looked well I must admit. 

For one year before coming over here to Jersey Zoo I worked under 44 The 
Milligans ” learning a lot in the care of pheasants. 

I feel that if more people were as meticulous in the care of their birds, many would 
live to a greater age and better success in breeding would be obtained. As for dis¬ 
couraging novices, if a person is not prepared to give a lot of time and trouble to his 
birds, he should not keep them. As far as unnecessary hard labour is concerned it was 
not so, to my mind. Only one bird was ill and whilst I was there it died, but it was 
not in very good condition when it arrived a few weeks earlier. 

I for one had to scrub the various dishes. I agree that gallinaceous birds do 
prefer food off the ground, but I have never known one refuse it out of a dish. The 
time taken to feed was approximately 40 minutes twice a day. Also I cannot 
remember seeing any stale or mouldy food lying on the ground, which if eaten could 
cause complications. 

The aviaries were 72 feet long by 18 feet wide. Each one contained a large shed 
and several bushes, including a large larch tree. The sheds were very seldom used by 
the birds, only the more delicate ones were shut in at night in winter. Up to four birds 
were kept in each aviary, except when the young stock from the rearing field were 
brought in. The droppings under the roosts were cleared away only when gaining 
height. 

During the breeding season, the Milligans worked until dusk caring for the young 
stock, losing the odd one, but rearing 99 per cent to maturity. 

I also used the rotorcycle to cut the tall grass, which saved me getting wet searching 
for eggs. The birds were disturbed as little as possible, usually running to the far end 
of the aviary away from the machine seeking cover, and then when one-half of the 
aviary had been cut they were carefully driven to the other end. If the grass was left 
to grow a bird could die, and perhaps not be noticed for days. 

Surely this is unhygienic to say the least. 

May I say the Milligans were very conscientious workers and only asked one to do 
what they themselves did. 

J. J. Mallet. 

Jersey Zoo Park, 

Trinity, 

Jersey, Channel Isles. 

The Editor does not accept responsibility for opinions expressed in articles, notes , or 
correspondence. 


THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY RECEIPTS AND PAYMENTS ACCOUNT 


& 


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NORMAN HOUSE.STANSTED 


11 AM TO 6-30 PM 

Exotic birds, wildfowl and animals 
in beautiful landscape 

Adults 5 /- ? Children 2 / 6 , 12 months’ membership £1 
The Honorary Secretary, Stansted Wildlife Reserve 
( Tel . Stansted 3360 ) 


(5 miles north of Bishops Stortford) 


Open every Sunday & Bank Holidays 



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Brief biographies of men and women in whose honour 

¥ 

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¥ 

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a complete list of parrot-like birds—scientific names with 

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on 

request 

WHELDON & WESLEY LTD 

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Nr. HITCHIN, HERTS. 

Telephone: Codicote 370. 


















SPECIAL 

BIRD P 

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Fortifier 

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(Condition Seed) 


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14 lb. 

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28 lb. 

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34 lb. 

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56 lb. 

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7 lb. 

13/9 

1 cwt. 150/- 

7 lb. 

31/- 


GREENSTUFF 


A dehydrated form of green 
food consisting of lettuce, 
spinach, carrot, etc., readily 
taken by all birds. 

Packets 1/3 & 3/10, also sold 
in bulk. 


All the above prices are carriage paid 


MEALWORMS 


“ MARBA ” DUTCH BRED “ SANTA ” GERMAN BRED 

(small type) (large type) 

Whether you prefer the small Dutch mealworm or the larger German type, 
we can give you the finest service obtainable, with shipments arriving twice 
weekly. Dispatch guaranteed same day as orders received. 

1 OZ. 3/- 2 oz. 5/0 4 oz. 8/6 8 oz. IS/- I lb. 25/- 

Also in original Boxes as imported Nett weight guaranteed 

2 lb. 47/6 3J lb. 66/6 64 lb. £6 5s. Od. AN Carriage Paid. 


MAGGOTS 

We sell only the best liver-fed maggots, specially recleaned and ready for 
immediate use for bird feeding. Packed in bran. No mess or smell. 

2 oz. 4 oz. 8 oz. I lb. 

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FEEDING SUNDRIES 


Dried Flies (Chinese) 

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Ant Eggs ..... 

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biscuit meal.2 lb. 3/-; 4 lb. 5/6 ; 14 lb. 17/6 

“ Egg-crumbs,” guaranteed to consist of 90 per cent breadcrumbs and 

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Telephone : Chatham 44969 Telegrams : Avicult, Chatham, Kent 












When Visiting the 

COTSWOLDS 

A VICULTURISTS ARE WELCOME 

TO 



Set in the charm oj an 
old English Garden at 
the lovely Village oj 

BOURTON-ON - THE- WATER 














CANDIDATES FOR ELECTION 

George A. Bouzigard, i io Delgrandile Lane, Golden Meadow, Louisiana, U.S.A. 
Proposed by Otis Wade. 

Peter A. L. Greenhalgh, 127 Manchester Street, Heywood, Lancashire. Proposed 
by Albert Birtles. 

Mrs. Meta Heller, P.O. Box 403, Suquamish, Washington, U.S.A. Proposed by 
Miss K. Bonner. 

T. J. H. Higgins, 49 Standale Road, Hereford. Proposed by D. W. Beecroft 

Mrs. N. Howard, Chastleton Kennels & Aviaries, Godsall Wood, Nr. Wolverhamp¬ 
ton. Proposed by Mrs. Wendy Duggans. 

Gian Chand Jain, c/o Chemicals, Drhangadhra, Gujerat State, India, Proposed by 
Sir Godfrey Davis. 

C. Eugene Knoder, 105 Lyell Street, Monte Vista, Colorado, U.S.A. Proposed by 

A. A. Prestwich. 

John D. Lindsay, Arlington House, 220 Arlington Road, Camden Town, London, 
N.W. 1. Proposed by A. A. Prestwich. 

H. Martin, Beacon View, The Avenue, Dunstable, Beds. Proposed by Mrs. Wendy 
Duggans. 

John Mayes, The Smallholding, Cash Lane, Eccleshall, Stafford. Proposed by P. L. 
Wayre. 

B. V. Ramanjulu, c/o Chemicals, Drhangadhra, Gujerat State, India. Proposed by 
Sir Godfrey Davis. 

V. Sausman, 25 a Beniapuker Lane, Calcutta 14, India. Proposed by Charles G. Jones. 

C. J. Sheath, Winford Waste, Forest Road, Winford, Sandown, I.O.W. Proposed by 
Miss K. Bonner. 

Donald C. Stewart, Arnage Castle, Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Proposed by 
Miss K. Bonner. 

Rafael Ma. Suarez, Playa de Las Canteras 28, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Islas 
Canarias. Proposed by Allen Lambert. 

Trevor A. Voss, Matapu, Hawera, South Taranaki, New Zealand. Proposed by 
A. A. Prestwich. 

Albert I. Whiteside, 2 Park View, Chorley Road, Worthington, Wigan. Proposed 
by H. W. Humphrey. 

NEW MEMBERS 

The fifteen Candidates for Election in the January-February, 1964, number of the 

Avicultural Magazine were duly elected members of the Society. 

RE-ADMITTED 

John T. Higginbotham, Jr., 4544 Edmondson, Dallas 5, Texas, U.S.A. 

CHANGE OF NAME 

Mrs. Rose E. Ishkan, to Mrs. Rose E. Hughes. 

CHANGES OF ADDRESS 

James Battersby, to 67 Sawley Drive, Great Harwood, Nr. Blackburn, Lancs. 

W. G. Brown, to Balcarres Mains Farm, Colinsburgh, Fife, Scotland. 

Mrs. J. W. Flintoft, to P.O. Box 170, Issaquah, Washington, U.S.A. 

Andrew R. Hynd, to 6 Belsize Place, Dundee, Angus, Scotland. 

Dr. Gordon F. Jolly, to Swindon Maternity Hospital, Swindon, Wilts. 

G. R. McLachlan, to Museum, Snake Park and Oceanarium, Humewood, Port 
Elizabeth, South Africa. 

Donald C. Nickon, to 2224 West Minster, Alhambra, California, U.S.A. 

Dr. Henry Quinque, to Clinique Ambroise Pare, 2 Avenue Jean Moulin, Bondy, 
(Seine), France. 

J. H. Swift, to Orchard House, 1324A Warwick Road, Copt Heath, Solihull, 
Birmingham. 


DONATIONS 


(Coloured Plate Fund) 


A. Aird . 

£ 

. 1 

s. 

0 

Mrs. D. Ashken 

. 1 

0 

Dr. P. Beraut . 

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D. Collins 

• 3 

0 

J. E. Collins . 


10 

A. W. Fletcher 


10 

J. R. Hall 


10 

J. Z. Howell . 

. 1 

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G.J. Irving 

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Dr. S. B. Kendall 


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J. Kingston 


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L. W. Lenz 

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Dr. P. Mantegazza 


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D. W. Muirhead 


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M. G. Stern 


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J. G. Weeks 


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MEMBERS 5 ADVERTISEMENTS 

The charge for Members * advertisements is threepence per word. Payment must accompany 
the advertisement , which must be sent on or before the 15 th of the month to A. A. Prestwich, 
Galley’s Wood,, Edenbridge, Kent. All members of the Society are entitled to use this 
column , but the Council reserves the right to refuse any advertisements they consider unsuitable. 

For rare birds contact Baidyanath Acooli. Exporter of rare Indian animals. Post 
Box 12008, Calcutta 2, India. 

Turacos : wanted urgently for medical research : Red wing-feathers from Turacos :— 
Bickerton, O.R.C., Poyle, Colnbrook, Bucks. 


STEPHEN AUSTIN AND SONS, LTD., PRINTERS, HERTFORD. 






AVICULTURAL 



Firefinch, by Derek Goodwin. 

Breeding the Vinaceous Firefinch (Lagonosticta vinacea), by Sir Richard 
COTTERELL, Bt. ......... 

Breeding the Greater Patagonian Comire (Cyanoliseus byroni), by W. R 
Partridge ........... 

Breeding the Cayenne Seedeater (Sporophila frontalis), by W. R. Partridge 

London Zoo Notes, by J. J. Yealland. 

Council Meeting .......... 

British Aviculturists’ Club ........ 

News and Views . . . 

Reviews ........... 

Correspondence .......... 



PAGE 


79 

80 

106 

109 

hi 

”3 

114 

114 

”5 

116 

118 


VOL. 70 No. 3 


PRICE 7/6 


MAY-dUNE 

1964 











THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY 

Founded 1894 

President: Miss E. Maud Knobel. 

Hone Secretary and Treasurer: A. A. Prestwich, Galley’s Wood, 
Nr. Edenbridge, Kent. 

Assistant Secretary : Miss Kay Bonner. 

Membership Subscription is £2 per annum, due on 1st January each year, and 
payable in advance. Life Membership £25. Subscriptions, Change of Address, 
Names of Candidates for Membership, etc., should be sent to the Hon. Secretary. 


THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA 

Hon. President s Mr. Jean Delacour. 

President; Mr. A. N. Lopez. 

Secretary: Mr. David West, 209 N. 18th Street, Montebello, California, U.S.A. 

The annual dues of the Society are $4.00 per year, payable in advance. The 
Society year begins 1st January, but new members may be admitted at any time. 
Members receive a monthly bulletin. Correspondence regarding membership, etc., 
should be directed to the Secretary. 


THE AVICULTURAL MAGAZINE 

The Magazine is published bi-monthly, and sent free to all members of the 
Avicultural Society. Members joining at any time during the year are entitled to the 
back numbers for the current year on the payment of subscription. All matter for 
publication in the Magazine should be addressed to :— 

The Editor s Miss Phyllis Barclay-Smith, M.B.E., 51 Warwick Avenue, 
London, W. 9. Telephone : Cunningham 3006. 

The price of the Magazine to non-members is 7 s. 6d., post free, per copy, or £2 5 s. 
for the year. Orders for the Magazine, extra copies and back numbers (from 1917) 
should be sent to the publishers, Stephen Austin & Sons, Ltd., Caxton Hill, Ware 
Road, Hertford, England. Telephone : Hertford 2352/3/4. 








Avic. Mag, 



Blue Snow Chat, 


Avicultural Magazine 

THE JOURNAL OF THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY 


Vol. 70.—No. 3 .—All rights reserved. MAY-JUNE, 1964 


THE BLUE SNOW CHAT 

(Grandala coelicolor) 

ByJ. J. Yealland (London, England) 

The Blue Snow Chat, or Grandala, inhabits the Himalayas and 
mountains of Tibet, western China, and northern Burma, living at 
altitudes of from 10,000 to 17,000 feet. Salim Ali ( The Birds of Sikkim , 
pp. 254-6), says that in Sikkim it lives between 15,000 and 17,000 feet, 
“ hardly descending in winter unless forced down temporarily by heavy 
snowfalls and severe weather, and then not below c. 9,000 feet.” 

He goes on to say that it is gregarious, keeping in closely packed 
flocks sometimes (in winter) of several hundred birds. At Lachen in 
February, 1952, a flock of more than a thousand was seen “ circling high 
over the valley ” and from time to time dropping “ like rain more or 
less in unison to settle on the tall leafless trees, covering the top branches 
in dense clusters like starlings at the roost. Every little while, for no 
apparent reason, the swarm would suddenly take wing, circle aloft, 
and tumble again into another tree . . The birds were at that time 
feeding £C exclusively on the abundant, sour, juicy berries of Hippophae 
salicifolia . . The birds were observed to favour certain areas, while 
equally laden thickets in neighbouring ravines were ignored. Other 
berries and insects are eaten. The female is brown, streaked with pale 
brown above and below, except on the throat and tinged with blue on 
the rump and upper tail coverts. There are white spots and tips on the 
brown wing feathers. In some flocks a large proportion of males have 
been seen and in others mainly brown-plumaged birds. Little appears 
to be known of the nesting habits and Salim Ali says that there is no 
record for Sikkim : he also says that “ Apparently flocks do not break 
up into pairs for breeding, neither do they nest in colonies ”. 

The more easterly birds are smaller and the males of a brighter blue. 
These populations are named Grandala coelicolorflorentes. 

7 

JUN SOW 







8o 


D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 


OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH, 
WITH SOME COMPARISONS WITH JAMESON’S 

FIREFINCH 

By Derek Goodwin (London, England) 

Introduction 

This paper is based on some captive specimens of the south-eastern 
form of the Dark Firefinch, Lagonosticta rubricata haematocephala. An 
adult wild-caught pair was purchased in August, 1962, and these 
reared two broods of young which were kept till mature. The adult 
female died from an injury in January, 1963. A male and female of the 
young of the first brood were kept and they and the original male are 
still alive and well (February, 1964). These observations thus have the 
drawback of being made on only a few individuals. On the other hand 
they are based on daily observation extending over a considerable 
period on birds that are known individually. Lagonosticta rubricata 
haematocephala is very similar to the other eastern forms of this species and 
is the most beautiful race of its species. Larger than a Common 
Firefinch (. Lagonosticta senegala ), cobby, rather than otherwise, in shape 
with a rather longish bill (for a waxbill), shortish, broad tail, and dense, 
lustrous feathering. The male has the head and hind neck a beautiful 
dark mauvish-pink which shades into a dark ruby-red on the breast and 
under-parts (except for the black belly and under tail-coverts) and 
dark brown, washed with mauve-red, on the back. The wings and tail 
are dark brown, the tail feathers washed with red. The rump and upper 
tail-coverts are crimson. There are short rows of shining, but small 
white spots on each side of the lower breast which, at a close view, add 
a perfect finishing touch to the male’s dark but glowing beauty. The 
eyes are encircled by narrow, rose-pink orbital skin. The bill is 
bluish-grey with blackish tip and blackish along the cutting edge of 
the mandibles. The female is paler and less richly red. Her breast and 
under-parts are mainly an attractive rosy buff. Her orbital skin is 
usually dull pink and brownish-buff in colour. In both sexes the 
orbital skin grows pale if the birds are not in good condition. The 
newly-fledged juveniles are brown except for their wine-red rumps and 
upper tail-coverts. They have short, dark bills and the ring of pale 
skin round the eye is more conspicuous than in the adult. The young 
males have a rosy flush on the breast that is only noticeable in a good 
light. 


History of Individuals 

My bird room being, as usual, rather over-full ; I put the Dark 
Firefinches in a cage in the spare bedroom. This cage stands in a recess 



D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 


8l 


by the window and is about o.\ feet square by 3§ feet high. The birds 
were allowed to fly freely about the upper part of the house, at least 
every other day, but were shut in their cage at night. They were 
rather wild but seemed (no doubt due to their cover-haunting habits) 
to be “ pre-adapted ” to the chaos of a bachelor’s rooms and provided 
I was not in their immediate vicinity, appeared thoroughly at home, 
hopping about under beds, into cupboards, and over piles of discarded 
garments or darting in twisting flight from one room to another. 

Almost as soon as I got them, both birds began to moult. This was a 
“ heavy ” and obvious moult such as one finds in most British passerines 
and in the Golden-breasted Waxbill, not the sort of slow, almost invisible 
moult that adult Blue Waxbills (Uraeginthus sp.) usually have, at least in 
captivity. By the beginning of September both were in full moult and 
the male had begun to attack the female when she was shut in the cage 
with him. Hitherto they had appeared to be paired. They had roosted 
together and indulged in mutual preening. Now the female was 
very frightened of the male and distressed when shut in the cage with 
him, although whenever she was out of his sight, as when they were in 
different rooms, she would soon begin to give her Whistling Calls (see 
section on voice) in an apparent attempt to keep in vocal contact with 
him. The male did not usually deign to reply and appeared to feel no 
“ loneliness ” when he was the sole occupant of a room. On the evening 
of the 21 st he went into a cage in my bedroom and roosted there instead 
of in his usual place (previously both Firefinches had roosted at first in 
the same, and later in separate, wicker nest-baskets in their own cage) 
so I left him there for a time, liberating him and the female on different 
days. I thought that a little enforced separation might make them 
appreciate one another’s company more, as it often does in other bipeds. 

By mid-September the male was frequently “ singing ” (see section 
on voice) in a sotto voce manner. However, on the morning of 
23rd September, just as my room was beginning to turn from black to 
grey in the first light of dawn, he began loud Contact Calling. As the 
clear, rich, nightingale-like notes rang through the room I was amazed 
and lay listening, entranced to this “ music from the African jungle ” 
until the interrogative (and to my ears reproachful) calls of my other 
waxbills impelled me to get up and put on the light in their room. The 
hen Dark Firefinch was greatly excited by this calling of the male and, 
from the other room, repeatedly answered him. At this time both birds 
were in the later stages of the moult with the wing quills not entirely 
renewed and lots of new feathers still coming in about the head and 
neck. 

By the 29th both appeared very interested in each other. For some 
days they had been calling and answering each other with the Trilling 
Call. When let out on the 29th the male flew immediately to the 
female’s cage and both birds approached each other with the tail twist 


82 D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 

and gave the Greeting Display. On the ist October I let them free 
together for the first time since they had been separated. Both showed 
intense excitement, they approached each other in the tail-twist posture 
and performed intense Greeting Displays (see under “ Display ”), also 
intermittently indulging in mutual inhibited bill pecking and mandibu- 
lation. They uttered faint trilling calls but not during the periods of 
most intense display, After about a minute of all this the female 
suddenly “ broke off” and taking flight with a loud trill, darted 
through into the other room, closely followed by the male. In the next 
ten minutes (approx.) she behaved in this way on four occasions and the 
male twice. Each time the bird that flew off gave the loud trill as it did 
so, was immediately followed by the other and the mutual display was 
excitedly resumed as soon as they alighted. This behaviour, indicative 
of a high degree of sexual arousal, in conflict with hostile tendencies is 
as I later found, very characteristic of pair formation in this aggressive 
species. Shortly after this the male went into the smaller of the two nest 
baskets in their cage (i.e. in the cage the female had been living in for 
the previous three weeks or so but in which both had originally been 
kept) and was followed by the female, both nest calling when inside. 
They soon came out, but the process was repeated at least several times 
in the next hour or so. The male usually entered the basket first but on 
one occasion, at least, the female did so. On that evening both roosted 
together in the same basket (the larger one, not the one they were 
considering as a nest-site). Next morning I noticed that the male seemed 
to be avoiding the female but I had not time to make any detailed 
observations. 

On 3rd October I spent some time watching the Firefinches. In 
surprising contrast to her former cowed demeanour and even to the 
apparent symbolic inferiority she had shown in their displays when 
first reunited, the female was now completely and aggressively dominant 
over her mate. She attacked him whenever he came within about a foot 
of her, which he endeavoured not to do. Both were quite silent in the 
cage ; Once the cage was opened, however, the picture was rather 
different. The male still avoided the female’s immediate presence, 
being careful, even when they flew together (as they did only on a few 
occasions) from one room to the other, not to alight within 2 feet of 
the female and usually alighting at least 4 or 5 feet from her. Both 
frequently gave the Trilling Call. Whenever out of sight of the female 
the male would “ sing ”, or give Contact Galls but he obviously chose 
to spend most of the time out of sight of his mate and in whichever 
room she was not in. The female sometimes gave her Contact Calls but 
not often and appeared quite at ease and happy when her mate was not 
with her. Indeed, the pair gave the impression of having reached in two 
days a state that some human couples achieve only after several years of 
matrimony. 


D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 83 

The next day on which I was able to watch the Firefinches for any 
time was 7th October. The pair then seemed more at ease with each 
other and the female did not attack the male when he perched near her. 
On 13th October I saw the male dismounting from the female after 
what I think had been an unsuccessful attempt at copulation. At this 
date the female gave the impression that she was soon going to lay. She 
had the “ raised rump ” appearance so characteristic of most female 
birds in this condition and her droppings were large and moist like those 
of female waxbills usually are at such times. 

I had placed dried and green grasses of various types in the cage for 
them but, so far as I could see, only a very little, mostly fine, dry stems, 
had been taken into the nest-basket. On the 15th I gave them a large 
number of Wood Pigeon feathers (it is surprising how many of these, 
ideal for nesting waxbills, one can accumulate in a day if one picks up 
and pockets each that is seen lying in one’s way) and the male at once 
began to carry them eagerly to the female, who was inside the basket. 
That night both male and female roosted together as usual in the larger 
basket, but soon after I put the light on (at about 5 a.m.) on the morning 
of the 17th, the hen went into the nest and was still there when I left 
at 8.10 a.m. After this date the pair were never seen off the nest at 
the same time for more than a few moments. Oddly enough at the first 
morning change over this often happened. The male would go down to 
feed as soon as the light was put on, then, after feeding for a few minutes 
he would fly up to the nest. He would give low-intensity versions of the 
Alarm Call (or what sounded like this) and disappear into the nest 
basket. After a little mutual twittering out would come the hen. 
Sometimes she gave her whistling calls before, during, or immediately 
after the change-over (or repeatedly at all stages) and if she gave it after 
coming out of the nest the male would come back out and join her for a 
moment or two before returning to the eggs. The whistling calls evidently 
were (at this stage) a strong stimulus for the male to join his mate as, 
if she gave the whistling calls as soon as I put the light on in the 
morning, the male would sometimes go at once and take over without 
having first had his breakfast. 

I am uncertain just when the female laid but from her behaviour and 
appearance I think the first egg was most probably laid on the 15th or 
16th. On 26th October I put the cock off the nest, drove both birds into 
the other room and shut them there so they could not see what I was up 
to. Then I cleaned out the cage and, with the aid of a torch, looked into 
the nest. Four white eggs were lying in a very dense but shallow depres¬ 
sion of feathers. On the 30th both birds showed far more than usual 
eagerness when I put some whiteworm “ culture ” into their cage. I gave 
them some mealworms (which they had often been given and never 
touched before) and at once both birds came down and took them. So 
I knew that young must have hatched or be near enough to hatching 



84 D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 

to have stimulated the parents by their sound or movements. Next day 
(the 31st) I drove off the male and shut them both out of sight while 
I looked again. The torch beam showed three naked, blackish nestlings, 
and one egg which had not hatched (and never did). They seemed all 
right and two of them turned up their heads and begged but like all 
very young waxbills, they aroused “ alarm and despondency ” by 
reason of their minuteness. I felt that such tiny, frail things just could 
not live. But they did survive. 




Diagrammatic sketches of mouth markings of 

(1) Day old nestling that had been thrown out of nest, freshly dead when found. 

(2) Nine day old nestling. Taken from live individual food begging. Marking in 
lower part of mouth not seen but may have been concealed by tongue. 

(3) Mouth markings of an eighteen day old but rather backward fledgeling. Taken a 
few hours after death. 

On 2nd November I looked at the young again. They had grown 
appreciably and made a very faint chippering sound as the light shone 
on them, but did not beg. At this date I found that the male had 
changed his roosting place and instead of roosting in the other basket in 
their cage he was roosting in an old broken basket lying on a canary 
cage (empty) about 3 feet above floor level in a corner of the room. 
I removed this basket, but instead of going back to his original roost he 
then chose to roost snuggled behind some old rags in a large glass jar 
in which I was trying, without much success, to culture lesser meal¬ 
worms. On 7th November, I looked at the young again. They had 
grown considerably and their “ pin feathers ” were showing although 
no feathering had yet broken from the sheath. Their crops were packed 
very full with millet. I was a bit worried about the length of time they 
went nightly without food, when I discovered, through coming home 
early on the 10th, that the parents had gone to roost by 3.30 p.m. The 
light was seldom put on in the mornings before 4.30 a.m., often not till 
5 a.m. and sometimes even later. The young got their first feed about 
ten minutes after the room was lighted. Nevertheless they seemed to 
thrive. 

On 11 th November the feathers of the young had broken out of the 
sheaths, at all events on their upper parts which were all I could see as I 
peered into the nest. On the 14th I arrived home early at 2.30 p.m. to 





D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 85 

find one young one out of the nest and on the floor of the cage. The 
parents were very upset and continually tried, without avail, to lead it 
back to the nest. Since it appeared unable or unwilling to make a 
nearly vertical flight upwards and I feared it would get cold if allowed 
to remain where it was I opened the door of the cage (almost the entire 
fronts of all my cages are made to open for ease of getting birds in and 
out and with a smaller door for feeding), drove the adults into the next 
room, caught the fledgeling and put it back into the nest after colour¬ 
ringing it. The result, as is usually the case in such circumstances, was 
that all three nestlings took fright and at once “ exploded ”, fluttering 
all over the room. 

Rightly fearing that anything I did now would “ make confusion 
worst confounded ” I opened my bedroom door to free the parents and 
retired hastily. They returned at once and were very concerned so I 
kept out of the way for about half-an-hour, until the alarm calls had 
largely given place to trilling and singing, when I crept cautiously 
upstairs to a point where I could spy through the bannisters without 
being noticed by the birds. This vantage point is not ideal, since it 
does not give anything like a full view of their room. It sufficed to show, 
however, that the parents were now chiefly concerned about one 
nestling which was on the window ledge. They kept flying to and fro 
between it and the nest basket in the cage but it did not follow them. 
As it was getting dark and the fledgeling in the window looked cold and 
miserable 1 thought I had better try to get it back into the nest, where 
I imagined the other two young already were. I drove the parents into 
the other room, not without some difficulty as they were so much 
concerned for their young that they kept dodging back past my com¬ 
manding arms. Having finally got them out of the way I picked up the 
young one on the window ledge. It was already showing signs of 
chilling. I put it back into the nest. I then found that the other two 
young ones were not in the nest but on the floor under an old rucsac. 
Evidently the parents had been unconcerned about them as they were 
“ in cover ”. They also were not looking too happy and as a result of 
their chilling did not panic and explode again when put back in the 
nest. When I let the parents back the female joined the young in the 
nest and roosted there with them, so all was well. 

Next morning one fledgeling followed her immediately she came out 
of the nest and within a few minutes all were out. That evening 
(15th) two young were roosting on top of the larger wicker basket (into 
which the female had returned and was roosting with her mate) and the 
third young one was roosting on a low branch, a few inches above the 
floor of the cage. As it was a cold night, and the room is normally only 
slightly warmed by a single bar heater in the linen cupboard, I put on 
an electric “ radiant heater ” also. Fortunately the unaccustomed light 
from this did not upset the roosting birds. Next morning all were well 



86 D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 

even although, by an oversight, the light was not put on in the room 
until after 6 p.m. That evening all three young were roosting together 
on top of the male’s roosting basket. I noticed that although the two 
outside fledgelings had their heads “ behind their wings ” in the usual 
passerine manner the middle one was sleeping with its head in much the 
same position as that of a roosting pigeon. 



Fledgeling asleep with head in “ pigeon ” position. 

The young could fly well by the 22nd. By the 27th they were 
beginning to warble in the usual manner of young passerines and were 
also eating seed although still being fed frequently by their father. At 
their first appearance into the world and to a lesser extent subse¬ 
quently, their parents had given alarm notes whenever I appeared. At 
first this frightened the young ones but through being so often 
“ bombarded ” with alarm notes they very soon ceased to worry when 
their parents were “ calling Wolf”. Their own relative lack of fear in 
my presence in turn had a somewhat quietening effect on the parents. 
These latter had not, as is so often the case with wild birds that breed in 
captivity, become tamer when they started to incubate. They did, 
however, “ steady down ” a little after the young were flying, pre¬ 
sumably as a result of the latters’ relative tameness. On 27th November, 
I saw all three young feeding themselves quite competently on millet 
although on that day they were all also fed frequently by their father. 
After the 28th I did not again hear them begging or see them fed. The 
adults were not, however, quite unconcerned since if they heard or saw 
a young one in any distress (e.g. if one, in another room, gave alarm 
calls or if one in the same room fluttered against a window pane) they 
at once reacted with Contact Calls. 

When I cleaned the nest basket out two days after the young had 
fledged I discovered that the hen had already laid two eggs of a new 
clutch therein. In spite of being given no nesting material she laid five 
more eggs (I think this total of seven really represented two clutches) 
in the roosting basket. I removed these on 3rd December on which date 
I put the original nest basket back in position, gave the birds nesting 
material and let them all free in the house. That morning the male 
frequently gave the Stem Display, the first time I had seen him do so. 
The female was obviously responsive, but all the displays I saw came to 
nothing owing to the interference of the young birds. These all, but 




D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 87 

especially the young male, had a kind of paternal Oedipus complex 
(of which more later) and as soon as their father started to display they 
would fly to him and force themselves between him and their mother. 
At this the male broke off the display. 

That morning the pair also went 11 c house-hunting ” and nest-called 
in five different places, but did not attempt any nest building. When 
I got home that evening I found that they had made a nest in a corner 
on top of an old canary cage about 3 feet from the floor and were 
roosting together in it. Two of the young were roosting on the same 
cage a foot away from the nest. I could not see the third young one but 
dare not make a search for fear of disturbing the others. Fortunately it 
turned up safe and sound next morning. Next evening (14th December) 
there was a feather in the new nest and the pair were roosting again in 
the basket in their cage. The young ones roosted above them on top of 
the same basket. 

The position of the new nest had the advantage that I could easily 
see into it. Its disadvantage was that if the birds were to use it success¬ 
fully they must be left permanently free. Thinking that to have the 
whole family free all the time would be too much of a good thing and 
that, in any case, the young ones would be likely to interfere with their 
parents, I caught the young ones and shut them in a cage in my bed¬ 
room. They were liberated about every third day, the bedroom door 
then being shut so they could not get out. Most of the time, however, 
they were kept captive and their parents given the run of the upstairs 
rooms. 

All went well with the second nest in spite of the fact that the birds 
were subject to a good deal of interference on my part. I felt I would be 
unlikely ever again to get a nest in such an ideal place for observation 
and experimentation and so I took a good many “ calculated risks ” in 
the way of putting the parents off to look at the nest contents, trying to 
provoke defence or distraction display and so on. We are always being 
told that we should never interfere with birds when nesting, be careful 
when we look at the young and so on. Certainly if one never goes into 
an aviary and then, when a pair of timid birds have eggs or young, 
charges up to the nest and looks into it the parents are likely to desert. 
On the other hand if we “ let well alone 55 we shall learn very little. 
Most birds will stand a good deal of interference provided they are 
accustomed to it early on, by judicious degrees of course, and provided 
they have room to fly away a little distance from one when one has 
frightened them. Where birds are concerned I have always been as full 
of “ satiable curiosity ” as the Elephant’s Child and, like him, have been 
none the worse for it in the end. At any rate I seem to have been just as 
successful with waxbills (which all the “ experts ” tell us are very sensi¬ 
tive to disturbance) as most others have in spite of regularly shining torches 
or poking my fingers into their nests in order to find out what is inside. 



88 D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 

When the young hatched I soon noticed that the number of mutilated 
mealworms lying about the house seemed far in excess of the number of 
live ones given to the Firefinches. Investigation showed they had found 
the mealworm box in the linen cupboard and were helping themselves 
with a similar reckless prodigality to that with which our own species 
exploits the limited resources of its environment. Although, like most 
people, I feel little emotional involvement with insects, I was slightly 
uneasy about the number of mealworms being butchered in order that 
the Firefinches could consume a minute amount of each. Fortunately, 
however, this coincided with a cold spell (as the hatching, in this 
country, of a brood of tropical birds usually does) and so I was able to 
salve my easily-placated conscience by feeding the remains to a hungry 
Song Thrush that came daily to my garden for hand-outs. 

The above remarks about all going well with the second nest need to 
be qualified as one of the young was backward in development and 
when the others fledged, and it was left alone in the nest, it died in spite 
of the room being heated and the parents feeding it well. The other two 
proved a cock and a hen and were later put in the cage with the former 
brood, which were two hens and one cock. Subsequently when both 
broods had moulted into adult plumage, I gave away all except one 
young pair and the two parents. Unfortunately the adult hen acciden¬ 
tally injured herself and died. The old male paired with his daughter 
and, after being an unwilling bachelor for a long time, the other male is 
now paired to a female of the dark western form ofjamesons’s Firefinch. 

Behaviour 


Feeding Behaviour. 

From its behaviour in captivity there can be little doubt that the 
Dark Firefinch is exclusively a ground feeder. Besides the sideways 
flicking movement of the bill, common to many ground-feeding 
passerines (and pigeons) when searching for food in fairly loose soil it will 
break up quite sizeable clumps of earth or debris. When so doing the 
bird draws itself up to its full height and strikes down with a pickaxe¬ 
like motion of the closed bill. I have the impression that at the moment 
of impact the bird makes, or tries to make, the sideways flick, but as I 
have only watched it with the naked eye and not taken high speed 
photographs I cannot be certain on this point. 

AUo-preening and “ Clumping 

This behaviour, which I have previously discussed (Goodwin, i960) 
for some other waxbill species, is very little indulged in by the Dark 
Firefinch. I have seen adults briefly preen the heads of their dependent 
young when these have been huddling against them. I have twice seen 
a female apparently making attempts to preen her mate’s head when he 




D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 89 

was drying himself after a bath. At these times he had his head feathers 
very fully erected, so his profile resembled that with which other species 
solicit Allo-preening. However, the male repulsed the female as often 
as she made the attempt. 

Connected with the lack, or virtual lack of this behaviour pattern is 
the fact that adult Dark Firefinches do not usually sit clumped close 
together as other waxbills do. The members of a pair do, however, 
roost together (except when they have eggs or young) and when roosting 
are certainly sometimes, and I think always in close physical contact. 
However, when not breeding the pair often perch in contact side by 
side. 

Mandibulation. 

A rapid opening and shutting of the mandibles as the birds face each 
other is shown, as in the Blue Waxbills (Goodwin, 1959) in situations of 
inhibited or lessening aggression. It is regularly performed by members 
of a pair after bill-pecking or other more overtly aggressive behaviour. 
It is also shown by the nest-calling male when the female approaches. 

Bill-fencing or Bill-pecking. 

Like many other estrildines Dark Firefinches often peck at each other’s 
bills; usually they seem to jab with the closed bill and in a rather formal- 
looking way as if they were “ pulling their punches ”. This behaviour 
indicates aggression that is, to some extent, inhibited but not inhibited 
so much as in Mandibulation, which usually follows the mutual Bill- 
pecking. It is shown often between members of a pair or, more 
especially, between male and female during pair-formation, but does 
not seem to occur in serious fights between rival males. I have, however, 
seen only two of the latter and on both occasions the birds were free in 
the house and the “ loser ” fled to another room. 

Threat. 

As in most estrildines threat display is poorly developed. It consists 
merely of intention movements of attack ; the threatening bird 
crouches facing its adversary with lowered head, somewhat opened bill 
and spread or partly-spread tail. If a male in a cage is threatening or 
defying one on a perch sticking out from its cage (with the wire between 
them) one or both may crouch sideways on and turn the tail diagonally 
so that the black under tail-coverts are exhibited to the rival. The tail is 
held straight during this manoeuvre, not “ twisted ” towards the other 
bird as in sexual displays. 

The Greeting Display. 

This is homologous with and rather similar to the Greeting Displays 
of the Java Sparrow (Goodwin, 1963) and Lavender Finch (Kunkel, 


90 


D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 



Greeting Display ; pair approaching each other and bowing. 



Greeting Display at full intensity, with wing slapping, as seen from above. 

1959). When performed at high intensity it is very striking. The two 
birds approach and bow towards each other. As they bow their tails 
come well above the horizontal. There is often some quick movement 
of the tail but most of the time the tail is “ twisted ” towards the 
partner so that when the two come really close their tails overlap (see 
sketch). The bows are sometimes synchronous but rather more often 
not and alternate with a rather upright stance in which the heads are 
still turned towards one another in the same way. As the bird bows it 
slightly lifts the still folded far wing and slaps it down again on its rump 
making a soft, short, but clearly audible “ thuk ” or “ fwut ” sound. 
Often when bowing the hen seems to try to bring her head across the 
male’s breast in front of and below his head and, but less often, the male 
will appear to deliberately try to do this. Particularly during pair forma¬ 
tion the male’s head is usually held a little higher than the female’s 
during the head-up phase of this display and if one head is lower than 
the other at the climax of the bow it is the female’s. 

The Greeting Display is given when members of a pair come together 







D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 


91 


after some little absence. It is shown particularly intensely during pair 
formation and at such times especially is often prefaced by or inter¬ 
spersed with bill pecking or mandibulation and often one bird will 
suddenly break off and fly away (into another room if they are free in the 
house) uttering the Trilling Call as it goes. I have also seen this display 
given by a recently independent male juvenile to its father when he 
displayed. The Greeting Display seems an expression of a high degree 
of excitement involving some conflict between sexual attraction 
(probably the dominant motivation) and fear or aggression. 



(a) When in upright phase of Greeting Display or about to give Stem Display. 

(b) When perched or hopping about alone and (sometimes) “ singing ”. 

The Stem Display. 

This is very similar to the homologous displays of other waxbills. 
The male takes a piece of potential nesting material, often a feather, 
but almost equally often a piece of grass, sometimes a piece of white 
paper if nothing better is to hand, and holds it by the shaft (if a feather) 
or by its firmest end. He holds his head rather upright (but position can 
vary a good deal) and has the head feathers sleeked down and the belly 
and flank feathers somewhat raised as in other species of Firefinch 
(Kunkel, 1959, Harrison, 1956). The tail is usually slightly depressed 
and twisted towards the hen although it immediately straightens should 
the hen move to a position directly in front of the male. The male then 
bounces up and down with a slight upward and backward throw of the 
head. This head movement appears less as a rule than in Uraeginthus . 
He may utter any or several of the Display Calls (see “Voice”). 
Sometimes, but relatively seldom the male, when displaying, brings 
his head right down and bows in front of the female’s breast. This 
suggests a combination with elements of the Greeting Display. In the 
Senegal Firefinch this movement is the normal culmination of the Stem 
Display (Harrison, 1956). 



92 


D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 



Displaying male drops feather and flutters wings (see text for details). 

Sometimes, but not very often, the wings may be raised or extended 
and fluttered during the Stem Display. Usually the bird drops his 
feather or grass just before he begins to flutter his wings but he continues 
the up and down movements which may, indeed, become more intense 
and culminate in an upward jump and flutter on to the female and an 
attempt to copulate. Seeing this behaviour it is as easy to think that the 
upward jerking movements of the Stem Display could derive from 
intention movements of mounting as the usual (and equally plausible) 
idea that they are derived from nest-building movements. 

Copulation. 

If the female responds to the male’s Stem Display by soliciting (and 
sometimes if she does not) the male will mount and copulate, or attempt 
to do so. Sometimes copulation may be initiated by the female soliciting 
with crouched posture and quivering tail in the usual estrildine manner 
without any apparent (immediate) stimulus from the male. Sometimes 
the male may take the initiative by approaching the female or hopping 
persistently after her on the ground, uttering the Soliciting Call and 
attempting to mount her. Especially under such circumstances 
apparently successful copulation may take place without any signs of 
readiness from the female other than crouching still (without quivering 
her tail or uttering the Soliciting Call) when the male mounts. Under 
all circumstances the male, before mounting, pecks at the female’s head 




D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 


93 


and nape, and (but far fewer pecks) down to her rump in the same 
manner that Uraeginthus males do, except that I have not seen the present 
species peck the cloaca of the female. If coition is, apparently, achieved, 
a brief mutual Bill-pecking follows but this display of aggression does not 
follow unsuccessful attempts. 

Nesting and Parental Behaviour . 

So far as I have seen only the male bird brings material for the outer 
part of the nest and he appears to do most of the building. This agrees 
with Harrison’s (1957) observations. However, my birds would not 
build if I was watching them near enough to observe details. Both 
cock and hen collected feathers to line the nest, continuing to do so 
during incubation in the usual estrildine manner. All material was, so 
far as I saw, held by the end in the typical estrildine way (see Goodwin, 
i960) and not “ bundled ”. They showed no interest whatsoever in bits 
of burnt wood (charcoal) at any stage of breeding. When they nested in 
the small nest basket this evidently gave them the impression of a 
“ pre-fabricated ” outer shell and the nest they built consisted at 
the sides only of relatively few fine dead grasses. The wall of the nest 
built later in the room was much thicker. In each case the eggs lay in a 
dense bed of feathers although the cup of the nest was very shallow ; 
saucer-shaped rather than cup-shaped in fact. 

Both sexes incubate and brood. I got the impression that the male 
took shorter spells on the nest than the female. This was so on the only 
day during which I was able to make inspections every 20 to 30 minutes. 
I did this on 25th December when the young in the nest in the corner of 
the spare room were two days old. Between 6 a.m. and 3.40 p.m. the 
male took six spells of brooding the young but was seldom on the nest 
more than twenty minutes. The room light had been on since 3 a.m. on 
that day, however, so it is quite certain that the male took at least 
seven spells of “ duty ” since he invariably (at least on all the many 
occasions when I stayed awake and watched after putting the light in 
their room on) took over on the nest within thirty minutes of leaving his 
roost. Possibly in a wild state where the birds might have to search for 
some time to get enough food for themselves or their young both sexes 
would spend a more equal amount of time on and off the nest. 

As soon as the light was put on (usually about 5 a.m. when they had 
the first nest in October and between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. for the second 
nest later) in the morning the cock would leave his roosting basket, 
stretch, preen a little, perhaps sing a little, then go down and feed. He 
“ sang ” much more often and more loudly during the incubation of the 
second nest than of the first, I think because the light was put on, as a 
rule, much earlier then. When he had fed he would go to the nest. As 
he came to it he would give the “ Twitter-trill Sometimes the female 
would give her Whistling Calls from within the nest before the male 




94 D - GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 

entered. More often only soft twittering from one or both would be 
heard during the moment that both were together in the nest, then the 
female would slip out. Very often, in fact about three times out of four, 
she would give whistling calls from the perch. Whenever she did so the 
male would come out of the nest again, go to her, they would perform 
the Greeting Display and then the male would return to the nest. On 
one occasion the female gave the Whistling Call while the male was in 
the nest with her, only to repeat it after she came out, with the usual 
result. 

Owing to her being more timid and suspicious than her mate I was 
never able to watch the change over closely when the female relieved the 
male. There seemed to be less ceremony attached to this as she never 
gave her Whistling Calls and the exchange was very quickly effected. 
Once the eggs had begun to hatch the female no longer gave Whistling 
Calls at the change over. From then until the young were about a week 
or ten days old she would give the Alarm Call (see section on Voice) 
immediately after leaving the nest. This apparently expressed a reluc¬ 
tance to leave the nest at this period since she uttered these notes every 
time she was relieved by the male and left the nest. It was not caused 
by my presence, on the contrary when I was downstairs I could tell 
immediately by her calls when she had “ come off duty ”. 

Neither male nor female showed any signs of defensive behaviour 
when incubating or brooding. When I reached a finger towards it the 
incubating bird would crouch tensely as the hand approached then, as 
my finger entered the nest, would scramble past it and fly into the next 
room breaking into loud Alarm Calls as it took wing. With newly 
hatched young the behaviour was different. Then (male twice experi¬ 
mented with, female only once) the bird, after scrambling past the 
intruding finger, fluttered downwards to the floor and scuttled under 
the bed. There was no appearance of injury or incapacity, but the 
behaviour strongly suggested the distraction displays of such birds as the 
Reed Bunting. Or at any rate some of the basic elements of such 
distraction displays. 

The parental behaviour seems typical of most estrildines (see Kunkel, 
1959, Goodwin, i960) in general. While the young were in the nest the 
cock bird invariably fed them on taking over from the hen and the hen 
often did when she returned to the nest. Probably she always did if 
I was not in the immediate vicinity. A point in which the feeding 
behaviour of this species and also of the Blue-headed and Blue-breasted 
Waxbills (Uraeginthus cyanocephalus and U. angolensis ) differs from that of 
Australian estrildines is worth mentioning. The Australian species 
(Immelmann, 1962) repeatedly break off feeding for a moment, in 
order to bring up more food into the mouth, when they have fed to the 
young one the portion first brought up before beginning to feed. With 
the African species I have studied the parent can be seen to bring up 




D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 


95 


food into the throat before beginning to feed, in the same manner as the 
Australian species, but having put its bill into the fledgeling’s mouth it 
then visually appears to bring up more food from the crop and pass it 
straight on to the young one without disengaging its bill. The mouths 
of adult and young are engaged for an appreciable time during which 
there are strong regurgitating movements by the adult and 
“ bulges ” are seen to pass up from the crop region to the throat and 
thence, presumably, since they vanish, into the young one. Usually 
(although not invariably) if one of the above species disengages from a 
fledgeling once it has started feeding it does not (till “ next time ”, of 
course), re-insert its bill, no matter how frantically that young one may 
still beg, but goes to another young to give it a share. That is, of course, 
if it still has food to dispense. 

During the period when the young are about to fledge, or have 
recently fledged, the parents show the usual hypersensitivity to danger, 
real, suspected, or imagined, that is characteristic of many (perhaps all) 
species at such times. A recently fledged young one in an exposed place, 
either on the ground or above it, greatly worries the parents and they 
try to lead it to safety in the usual estrildine way, repeatedly flying to 
it, alighting beside it, and then flying to the desired place and calling. 

I am not certain of the laying periods and commencement of incuba¬ 
tion for the first nest, but no doubt it was the same as shown for the 
second which was as follows. The hen did not roost on the nest on the 
night before she laid her first egg but went on the nest at 5.30 a.m., an 
hour after the light in the room was put on. She was still on the nest at 
6.30 a.m. At 7 a.m. the male was on. I put him off and found the first 
egg had been laid. The eggs, four in all, were laid at daily intervals. 
From the time the first was laid both birds were often on the nest by day. 
In fact usually so when I looked but I was never at home all day during 
this time. They were, however, left uncovered at night (both cock and 
hen roosting together in a basket in their cage) until the night of the day 
on which (in the morning) the third egg had been laid. That night the 
hen roosted on the nest. This confirms what Kunkel (1959) found for 
several other estrildine species in which true incubation begins with 
the third egg. 

As with other waxbills, at least those species that I have succeeded in 
breeding, the parents tend to leave the young uncovered by day for 
considerable periods once they are about a week old and before they 
are well feathered. For this reason singly-reared young ones never do 
well. I have had such singletons in several species and in all cases, even 
if reared, they have been weak specimens and have died within three 
months of fledging. I feel sure this is due to having been exposed to cold 
during nestlinghood. It is certainly not due, as I have sometimes seen 
suggested, to the parents being less “ stimulated ” by a single young 
one and feeding it less. On the contrary the crops of such singletons are 

8 


96 D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 

always packed full of food, so much so that they seldom beg at “ normal ” 
intensity. 

Behaviour of Young. 

The fledged young beg in the usual estrildine manner (Kunkel, 1959) 
with crouched posture and twisted neck. One or both wings may be 
very slightly opened and vibrated but there is usually no visible wing 
movement. The Begging Call is a rapid “ Tche-tche, tche-tche-tche- 
tche which becomes louder and huskier a few days after fledging. When 
given intensely it is speeded up to a very hurried, chattering. Usually 
it is given at about the same tempo as the usual alarm chatter of the 
Magpie (Pica pica ). I have twice seen a young one, possibly the same 
one on each occasion, raise its wings in the same way as a young 
Amandava does when begging (Goodwin, i960). This happened when 
the young one had just scrambled over one of its siblings and got 
between it and the parent. 

I have also twice seen a wing-lifting display (?) from young that had 
just become independent but were still, apparently emotionally 
attached to their father. One, a female juvenile, was in my bedroom for 
the first time and rather alarmed at the strange surroundings. Her 
father (who was thoroughly used to coming into this room) flew in, 
alighted on a cage top the other side of the room and gave the Contact 
Call. The juvenile flew to him, landed near him and at once crouched 
with head and tail slightly raised and fully lifted first one wing and then 
the other. On the same day the male juvenile of the same brood was 
in the room where they had been reared (and where he was quite “ at 
home ”). His father went into a small cage in a corner and Nest-called 
from a twig platform inside. The juvenile male at once flew to him, 
landed on top of the cage and gave the same crouching and wing- 
lifting as its sister had shortly before. I have seen no similar display 
from adults. 

At about the time they begin to feed themselves, and to spend much 
of their spare time in the rambling and inconsequential-sounding 
warbling characteristic of most young passerines, they begin to show a 
strong interest in the display of the male. This interest increases rather 
than diminishes and is usually most intense shortly after the male 
ceases to feed them, which happens about five or six days after they 
first start to feed of their own accord. At such times the juveniles fly to 
and cluster round the male if they see him begin the Stem Display. Very 
often he has only to pick up a bit of grass or feather for them to be 
attracted. Usually the young at such times give elements of the Greeting 
Display and I have seen a young male give a very intense Greeting- 
Display in response to its father’s Stem Display. This behaviour sug¬ 
gests the same sort of basically sexual bond as has been described for 
young Bullfinches by Nicolai (1959). The male did not, however, show 



D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 


97 


any overt sexual responses towards his young. I had the impression 
that his Stem Displays at this time were being given either in reference 
to his mate or in vacuo. He usually appeared nonplussed when the 
young gathered round him and soon dropped his feather and ceased to 
display. 

The young of the first brood fledged when 16 days old. They were 
noticed to be feeding themselves efficiently at 27 days old ; the father 
was last seen to feed them when they were 32 days old. When 37 days 
old two of the young (a male and a female) showed a red band from 
gape to eye and a few red feathers elsewhere on the face. At 37 days old 
all three had much adult plumage on heads, necks, and upper parts of 
breasts. This moult was very “ heavy 55 like that of young Amandava 
species and unlike the slow and gradual moult of young Uraeginthus. 
Of course the times and speed of moulting in captivity in England may 
not agree in all, or many, points with what occurs in natural conditions. 

Voice 

I am only too aware of the flaws and imperfections of trying to convey 
bird sounds by what is now generally looked upon as the bad old- 
fashioned method of written description. Still, half a loaf is better than 
no bread and I hope I shall be excused by and able to give some 
information to those readers who, like myself, have not the time, money, 
and facilities needed to produce sound spectrographs. Lagonosticto- 
philes may be perturbed that my descriptions and interpretations of 
calls do not entirely coincide with those in a previous paper on this 
species (Harrison, 1957) which appeared in our magazine. It now 
seems certain that most, perhaps all, Mr. Harrison’s birds were in fact 
(see Harrison, 1963) the western race of Jameson’s Firefmch (L. rhodo - 
pareia virata). 

In naming the various sounds uttered I have in some cases used terms 
indicative of (presumed) function of the call, in others of its sound. This 
because it seemed to me a lesser evil than to sacrifice relative clarity of 
meaning to nomenclatorial consistency. 

The Alarm Call. 

A loud hard “ Tchit, Tchittick ! ” “ Tchittick ick ”, etc., very 
suggestive in tone of the scolding of a Wren ( Troglodytes troglodytes) 
although the tempo often more resembles that of the much less loud 
“ticking” of an alarmed Robin ( Erithacus rubecula). The more 
apparently distressed the bird is the louder and harder and more 
rapidly “ run-together ” the alarm calling. Where fear appears to be 
the dominant motivation the bird is inclined to give single “ Tchits ” 
or “ Ticks ” rather than the more usual series of notes. 

This call corresponds to the calls that have been recently (Harrison, 
1962) defined as “ Excitement Notes ”. However, I prefer the term 


98 D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 


“ Alarm Call ” since in every case (at least with the present species) 
when I have been able to ascertain the cause of the bird’s outcry it has 
been something likely to have caused alarm, distress, or conflict. It is, 
for example, given in the following situations.— (a) When a bird is 
alarmed by my close presence or by the appearance of a stranger ; if 
one attempts to catch or otherwise much frightens a caged bird the single 
hard “ Tchits ” will be given, (b) When the young are approached by a 
human or when a fledgeling cries out in fear or flutters against a window 
pane, (c) As a bird takes wing when I have frightened it from its nest. 

(d) By adults with dependent fledgelings when (on three occasions) they 
have seen a cat in the garden as they looked through the window. 

(e) By a bird flying past me from one room to the other. When free in 
the house they readily and voluntarily fly from the spare room into my 
bedroom or vice versa even if I am standing in the doorway and they 
then, of necessity, pass within a few inches of my head. At the moment 
that it passes the bird almost always gives a brief burst of Alarm Calls. 
(/) By a female immediately after coming off nest (having been relieved 
by a male) especially if there are chipping eggs or young under a week old, 
here the call seems to indicate conflict between the desire to brood or 
incubate the nest and the need for food or exercise. 

The Trilling Call. 

A drawn-out trill with a rising inflection. Usually monosyllabic and 
variable in length and loudness, but always with a strong “ r ” sound 
running through it and an “ excited sounding ” tone. Sometimes there 
is a suggestion of a “ t ” sound at its end. It could be written 
“ Trrrrrrrrrr-t ” or “ Trrrrrrrrrrr ”. It bears some resemblance to both 
the probably homologous trilling call of the Java Sparrow (Goodwin, 
1963) and the shivering trill of the Wood Warbler (Phylloscopus 
sibilatrix ). When given at high intensity this call is uttered with widely 
opened bill and marked vibration or quivering of the whole body. 
When given at lower intensity this quivering may only be noticeable in the 
tail where it is, naturally, always most conspicuous. 

This call is basically aggressive or threatening although when used 
between members of a pair it often seems to indicate inhibited or 
sublimated aggression rather than any overt hostility. When the pair 
trill together at another bird it may well function to increase the 
emotional bond between them just as the emotional bond between two 
people is intensified (if only for a short time) when they both together 
threaten, laugh at, or defy the same enemy. 

It is given in the following situations :— 

(1) By a male or by both sexes of a pair on catching sight of another 
Firefinch. 

(2) By a Firefinch when another (whether its mate or a rival) flies 
into the room where it is living (whether it is free or in a cage). 





D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 


99 


Quite often given when some other bird, such as a Blue Waxbill, flies 
into the room, no doubt because this supplies some of the same 
stimuli as a Firefinch in flight. 

(3) By rival males threatening or defying one another prior to or 
44 between rounds ” of a fight. By the victor when the vanquished 
takes wing and flies away. 

(4) In answer to the same call from another Firefinch, whether 
mate or rival. 

(5) By a male in response to Contact Calling (q.v.) of a female or 
when she approaches him if he does not apparently, want her 
immediate presence. In such cases he usually hops or sidles away as 
he trills. 

(6) By either of a pair as it takes wing after a Greeting Display. 

(7) During Greeting Displays in this situation given only at low 
intensity. 



The Trilling Twitter. 

Typically very similar in phrasing to the alarm call but much less 
loud, lacking the 44 hard ” tone and with an 44 r ” sound in it. Could, 
perhaps be written 44 Trittit ! Trittitit, etc. 

This call appears to combine elements of both the Trilling and Alarm 
calls but at the same time to express a lesser degree of excitement than 
evokes either of them. It appears to be given in many circumstances 
where there is some mild degree of excitement involving the presence 
of conspecifics. It may be given when two birds come together ; as a 
response to the Trilling Call of a conspecific out of sight (in another 
room). It is usually given by the male as he approaches the nest to take 
over incubation or brooding 44 duties ”. Not always easy to distinguish 
(but there is a difference of tone) from low intensity versions of the 
Alarm Call. 


100 D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 

The Fear Screech. 

When a fledgeling is seized in the hand it often gives an unpleasant 
husky screech, sometimes repeating this two or three times before falling 
silent. Adults and young no longer dependent on their parents do not 
usually utter this cry when handled. Sometimes, however, they do so, 
giving it in a rather deeper tone than a fledgeling does. 

The Nest Call. 

This is a very soft, repeated 44 Tu-tu-tu-tu ” or 44 Teh-teh-teh-teh 
It is given by the male when he has found a nest site and presumably 
functions to attract the female who is, however, very often, only a few 
paces behind the site-selecting male. I have also heard it given when 
both birds were in the nest together so it is quite likely given by the 
female as well. It may be prefaced or interspersed with the Trilling 
Twitter in very soft form. 

The Soliciting Call. 

This is very similar to the Nest Call, but uttered rather more rapidly 
than the Nest Call usually is (both are subject to some variation) and 
has a more excited tone. Could, perhaps, be written 44 qwe-qwe-qwe- 
qwe . or 44 Twe-twe-twe-twe-twe . . .”. There is some difference 

between this call as given by males and females but it is slight and may 
be due to individual rather than sexual difference. This call is given by 
the soliciting female, at least if the male is not at hand and immediately 
responsive. Also by the male when he is about to mount the female 
(sometimes) or, and more particularly, when he wishes to mount her 
and she is not being very co-operative. 

The Display Calls. 

I group together under this heading several calls which are uttered in 
the Stem Display or in Song (q.v.) but do not appear to be given in 
other contexts. They are {a) a clear, high-pitched 44 Pee ” or 44 Week ”. 
(b) A squelchy-sounding 44 Squeh ”, very similar to the homologous 
call of Jameson’s Firefinch (see Harrison, 1957 and 1963). (c) A husky 
44 Fwit ” very suggestive of the sound made by the wings in the 
Greeting Display but vocal. (d) A soft but husky whispering or 
muttering very suggestive of the sotto voce whispering calls often given by 
displaying male Jays Garrulus glandarius. Both this husky muttering and 
the 44 squelchy ” note may be punctuated by a click rather similar in 
sound to the bill-snapping of the Java Sparrow. This is probably 
homologous with the 44 click-like 4 stip ’ ” described by Harrison (1956) 
for the Senegal Firefinch. 

Any or all of these calls may be given by the displaying male in any 
sort of order. If, however, he only gives one note or repetitions of one 
note during a bout of displaying then it is usually either the squelchy- 
sounding 44 Squeh ” or the clear high-pitched 44 Pee 


D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 


10 


The Courting Screech. 

A long drawn out husky screech T’skaaa or T’schair subject to some 
variation but basically very similar to the Fear Screech. This was often 
given by the captive-bred male when hopping or, more usually, flying 
towards females in whom he was sexually interested. At such times he 
was more or less in Stem Display posture while in flight and uttered 
this screech with wide open bill. He showed this behaviour towards 
his father’s mate, when he was unpaired, and later towards the female 
L. jameson virata. He did not screech in this manner at his first mate 
(his sister, whom he had always known) nor to the hen Jameson’s after 
they were firmly paired. The screech seems to express a very intense 
degree of emotion and, I think, conflict between aggressive and sexual 
impulses. 

The Contact Calls. 

In this cover-haunting species which, probably, lives in pairs and does 
not flock in a wild state, the contact calls are well developed and appear, 
so far as can be judged from very few specimens, to show marked 
individual differences. My “ old ” (wild caught) male utters as his 
Contact Calls a loud, ringing “ Chew-chew-chew-chew ...” with an 
almost Nightingale-like tone and richness, a slightly less musical but 
equally loud “ Chui-chui-chui-chui ” and a more Canary-like “ Chub- 
chub-chub-chub ...” The homologous calls of the “ young ” (captive- 
bred) male could be written the same way but are much harsher in 
tone so that his Contact Calling, unlike that of his father, is unpleasant 
to my ears. Separation from the mate or the Contact Calls of another 
individual (female or male, mate or rival) usually elicit immediate 
Contact Calls. Though their function is obviously communicative they 
seem largely motivated by a degree of uneasiness or mild fear insuffi¬ 
cient to elicit Alarm Calls. Thus they may be given in response to some 
mildly alarming behaviour on my part or in response to Alarm Calls 
(but usually only fairly low intensity Alarm Calls) from a conspecific. 

Besides a “ Chwee-chwee-chwee ...” very like the male’s the 
female has other and differently sounding calls that appear to be 
referable to the Contact Call repertoire. Of these my first (wild 
caught) female had three forms ( a ) a long-drawn, thin, high- 
pitched plaintive, whistling “ Feeeeeeeeeee ” somewhat suggestive of 
the whistle of a male Golden Plover ( Charadrius apricarius in its display 
flight ; (b) a slightly louder and slightly less plaintive “ Feeeu-feeeu ” 
and (c) a shorter, quicker, and tri-syllabic “ Fee u-feed-fee u ” very 
suggestive of the whistling call of the Nuthatch [Sitta europaea). The 
comparable calls of my present (captive bred) female differ from those 
of her mother (as above described) in being a little less plaintive in tone. 
Her equivalent of the tri-syllabic Feed-feed-feed could better be written 
Fee-fee-fee and more than three “ string together ” notes are often 



102 D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 

uttered. She also uses much more often the Chwee-chwee-chwee male¬ 
like Contact Call. 

These calls are given by the female in situations where the male 
would utter his Contact Call phrases. They are also uttered by the 
nesting female (sometimes) before, during, or after the change-over 
(see under “ Nesting and Parental behaviour ”). When given by a 
female alone in a room I have not been able to find any difference in the 
situation correlated with the three forms of whistling Contact Calls. 
The single very plaintive “ Feeee ” seems especially to be indicative of a 
greater degree of fear or disquiet. This is suggested by the fact that the 
original female gave it more often during her first few days at liberty in 
the house than subsequently. Also, on one occasion when a friend was 
staying with me who was a stranger to the birds and alarmed them more 
than I did and the Firefinches kept flying about in a rather worried 
manner from one room to the other, the female frequently gave the single 
“ Feeee ” (not the other Contact Calls) when she was perched only a 
few inches from her mate. He responded in each case with the Trilling 
Call and the Greeting Display, or at least some attempt at it, at once 
followed in spite (or because ?) of their alarmed state. 

The di-syllabic “ Feeeu-feeeu ” is most often used by the hen at the 
change over. The single “ Feeee ” seems never to be used in answer (or 
reaction) to the call of another individual, in which situation the tri¬ 
syllabic “ Feeu-feeu-feeu ” or the male-like Chwee-chwee-chwee-chwee 
are used. 

The most striking thing about the Contact Calls is the difference 
between those of the young pair and those of their parents. Especially 
in view of the fact that they have never heard any other adults. Since 
all their other calls sound identical to those of their parents this is 
unlikely to be due to some adverse factor of the capture environment. 
This individual difference probably functions for quick recognition of 
the mate’s voice, which is no doubt useful in this aggressive and 
probably territorial species. 

The “ Song ” of the Male 

In the Blue Waxbills (Uraegmthus sp.) it is possible to draw a firm 
distinction between the song (i.e. the rather complex series of notes 
given when displaying as well as in other situations) and the simpler, 
repeated Contact Calls even though both are often given in very similar 
situations. In these Blue Waxbills I have often had the impression 
that the song represents a sort of stereotyped potpourri of all or most of 
the other calls in various permutations. This impression is, however, 
far more vivid and unchallengeable in the case of the present species. 

The “ Song ” of the male Dark Firefinch appears to consist of little, 
if anything more than his repertoire of call notes. The only exception is 
the Alarm Note but its apparent absence in the song may be due to my 



D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH IO 3 

thinking it genuine at times when it is given in “ Song When singing 
the male Dark Firefinch varies the pitch and intensity of some notes and 
may give them in somewhat different forms. Thus the high-pitched 
“ Pee 55 may be given as several notes rung together “ Pee-pee-pee- 
pee ” in a very musical and poignant tone suggestive of the “ Tereus ! ” 
cry in the Nightingale’s song, the Trilling Call may end in a liquid 
bubbling sound and so on. In the quieter forms of Song there often 
appears to be a certain amount of intergradation of different calls but 
this is hard to be sure of. Such intergradation of different calls is very 
seldom done when the bird is singing loudly. 

It is possible to distinguish two main types of singing, one loud and the 
other quiet and sotto voce. This is, however, an artificial distinction as 
the two can intergrade and seem to express only a difference in intensity 
not in motivation. When singing loudly the bird tends to utter each 
note three or four times in a series, when singing quietly a note will often 
be uttered only once. This is, however, an average not an absolute 
difference. 

In both forms of song there is a characteristic pause after each note 
or series of notes. Usually the singer does not immediately repeat the 
same note or series of notes after a pause although he sometimes does so. 
When singing the bird perches, stands on the ground, or hops about. He 
tends to hold his head rather high and to look around, moving his head 
to do so, in the pauses. He may, on the other hand, utilize the pauses 
for feeding. Often he indulges in low intensity display movements while 
singing, sometimes he may give full Stem Display with material in his 
bill while singing alone, although never while actually uttering the 
Contact Calls or Trilling Call at high intensity. In loud song particularly 
the style, staccato bursts of vehement short phrases or single notes, with 
pauses of silence between, is very suggestive of the song of the Nightin¬ 
gale (Luscinia megarhynchosy 

As Harrison (1962) has emphasized for various estrildines, visual 
isolation is one of the commonest situations eliciting Song. In the Dark 
Firefinch loud song is rarely and quiet song less infrequently given in 
sight of conspecifics. I once saw and heard a male singing while 
perched with his flying and nearly independent young on each side of 
him and in physical contact with him. Andrew (i960) has pointed out 
that in many birds song seems to be elicited by the same stimuli that 
elicit Contact Calls. This is certainly the case in the Dark Firefinch but 
in this species the nature of the Song makes it very difficult, if not 
impossible, to say where “ call notes ” end and “ song ” begins or 
vice versa. 

Comparison with Calls of Jameson’s Firefinches 

For some months past I have also had two Jameson’s Firefinches 
Lagonosticta rhodopareia : a male of the Eastern race L. r.jamesoni and a 



104 D - GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 

female of the dark Western race L.j. virata. Although the data on them 
is necessarily scanty (as yet) some of it seems worth giving for compara¬ 
tive purposes. For brevity’s sake I shall hereafter refer to the two forms 
of this species in my possession as jamesoni and virata. 

So far as one can judge from two specimens, compared with only a 
small number of one race of rubricata , Jameson’s Firefinch gives the 
impression of being a slightly slimmer and neater-looking as well as 
slightly smaller bird. The male jamesoni is very like the male of rubricata 
haematocephala but the red parts are a paler and more pinkish red and 
the upperparts a warmer, more reddish-brown ground colour. The 
male virata is dark greyish-brown and dark red, very like the western 
races of rubricata and the female virata is almost as red as the male, 
unlike the females of rubricata and jamesoni. Virata is also a little larger, 
being as large, but perhaps not so heavily built as rubricata. My male 
jamesoni and female virata apparently each “ mistook ” the other for a 
rival of the same sex. They showed mutual hostility and the female 
courted and eventually paired with a male rubricata whose resemblance 
in colour to a male virata evidently made him preferred, or at least 
recognized as a male, in spite of differences of language. 

The calls of virata have already been described (Harrison, 1957). 
Besides those he lists, however, my female gave a very high, plaintive, 
long-drawn “ Feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee ” and, less often, a bi-syllabic 
“ Feeee-eeee These were given in the same situations as the Feeeu 
calls of female rubricata with which they are almost certainly homolo¬ 
gous. They are, however, even more plaintive and drawn out, almost 
eerie in tone and astonishingly like one of the calls of the Sun-bittern 
(Heliopyga helias ), the long-drawn “ Feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee ” having the 
same, sad, haunting quality as the Sun-bittern’s call. 

The male jamesoni speaks the same language as the female virata but in 
a very different accent, the calls being, at comparable intensity, much 
less loud, and rather higher in pitch. Thus the Alarm Call is a trill 
essentially like that of virata but much less loud and harsh. I wrote that 
of jamesoni as “ trrrrrrr ”, “ trrrr-trr-trrt ”, etc., that of virata as 
“ Churrrr ”, “ Churrrr-rrrr ” when listening to them. The very harsh, 
loud, nasal Contact Call (or rather one contact call) of virata , which 
Harrison transcribed as “ Kyew ” or “ Kyah ” and I as “ T’skya ” 
appear to be rendered by my male jamesoni as a much softer, husky 
“ tchu ”. His Display Calls do not differ from that described by 
Harrison for virata although as it also is very soft (by comparison with the 
“ squelch ” and fwit ” notes of rubricata) it is probably also less loud 
than the comparative notes of virata. 

My jamesoni also gives as, apparently, a flight-intention call, a very 
soft “ Tsit, tsit ” which intensifies into a rapidly repeated “ ti-ti-ti-ti-ti ” 
(the “ i ” pronounced as in “ bit ” in both cases). His “ song-like ” 
Contact Call consists of a series of very sweet musical notes strung to- 





D. GOODWIN-OBSERVATIONS ON THE DARK FIREFINCH 


05 


gether and uttered either rather rapidly “ We-we-we-we-we-we-we . . 
or more slowly and poignantly “ Weet-weet-weet-weet-weet-weet . . 
Usually in the course of a few minutes calling (or singing) he will give 
both fast and slow versions, commonly one is followed by the other. 
The slower series is very suggestive of one of the phrases of the Wood¬ 
lark’s song. As is the case with rubricata, the male jamesoni, when singing, 
goes through his complete repertoire, alarm calls excepted, and makes 
at least incipient display movements when uttering the Display Galls. 

An interesting point in connection with the difference in calls in the 
two species is that to human ears the Alarm Galls of virata and jamesoni 
sound extremely like the anger call of rubricata and not in the least like 
its Alarm Call. However, the Dark Firefinches were more perceptive 
than their owner in this. They respond (if at all) to the Alarm Trill of a 
jamesoni (or virata) with Alarm Calls, never with their Trilling Call with 
which they answer the (to me )similarly sounding trill of an unseen 
member of their own species. 

My male jamesoni more often gives the Stem Display without any 
symbolic nesting material in the bill than with a stem or feather and 
he commonly adopts a rather more horizontal posture and lifts his head 
up less far than rubricata. As, however, I have only seen him display by 
himself such displays as I have seen may have been only low intensity 
versions. 

The Greeting Display of my female virata is the same as that of rubri¬ 
cata although she much more often gives it without the wing slapping 
component. She appears only to lift and slap down her far wing in this 
display when she is performing it at very high intensity. Whether this is 
a specific character or an individual idiosyncrasy it is, on present 
evidence, impossible to say. 


REFERENCES 

Goodwin, D. (1959). Observations on Blue-Breasted Waxbills. Avicult. Mag., 65 : 
149-169. 

-(i960). Observations on Avadavats and Golden-breasted Waxbills. Avicult. Mag., 

66 : 174-199 

- (1963). Observations on Java Sparrows. Avicult. Mag., 69 : 54-69. 

Harrison, C. J. O. (1956). Some Fire-finches and their Behaviour. Avicult. Mag., 62 ; 
128-141. 

——‘ ( I 957 )- Notes on the Dark Fire-finch. Avicult. Mag., 63 : 128-130. 

-(1962). An Ethological Comparison of some Waxbills (Estrildini) and its Relation 

to Their Taxonomy. Proc. Z°°b $ oc ’ Load., 139, Pt. 2, pp. 261-282. 

-( I 9^3). Jameson’s Firefinch and the Dark Firefinch. Avicult. Mag., 69 : 42. 

Immelmann, K. (1962). Beitrage zu einer vergleichenden Biologie Australischer 
Prachtfinken (Spermestidae). £ool. Jb. Syst. Bd., 90, S.i. 1-196. 

Kunkel, P. (1959). Zum Verhalten einiger Prachtfinken (Estrildinae). Z. Tierp- 

psychol. 16 : 302-350. 

Nicolai, J. (1959). Familientradition in der Gesangsentwicklung des Gimpels 
{Pyrrhula pyrrhula L.) Journ.f. Orn., 100 : 39-46. 


106 SIR R. COTTERELL-BREEDING THE VINACEOUS FIREFINCH 

BREEDING THE VINACEOUS FIREFINCH 

(.Lagonosticta vinacea ) 

By Sir Richard Cotterell, Bt. (Hereford, England) 
Description 

Male :—Forehead and crown grey ; cheeks black ; mantle, back 
and rump vinous-pink. Tail coverts and outer tail feathers pink to 
crimson ; wings brown but coverts washed-pink ; underparts vinous- 
pink with tiny white spots on side of breast and body. Eye red. Bill 
upper mandible dark olive-green. Lower paler. Legs and feet olive- 
green. 

Female :—A paler edition of the male—no black on the cheeks. 
The whole head being grey. 

Distribution 

West Africa. Senegal, Gambia, Portuguese Guinea and possibly 
French Guinea. Distribution eastwards not defined. 

Wild Habits 

Little is known about this species. In Gambia it is local in distribution 
and usually associated with bamboos and fresh water. Nothing is 
known of its nesting habits. 

I purchased a pair of these birds at the beginning of June, 1963, from 
Mr. Liptrott. He tells me that they came to him in a consignment from 
Senegal. On arrival the cock looked in very good order, but the hen 
appeared a little rough. However they were put in a cage to settle 
down. When settled they were not at all wild. 

On 9th June they were transferred to the heated shelter of an outside 
aviary 12 by 8 feet. As the weather was good, they were allowed out 
after three days. Also in the same aviary were a pair of Blue-headed 
and a pair of Black-cheeked Waxbills. They got on well with the 
Blue-heads, but did not care much for the Black-cheeks—I suppose 
owing to the slight similarity of colour. They then went into a moult 
for just over a month. They appeared to eat entirely pannicum millet 
and millet sprays. 

On 7th August the cock was carrying nesting material, and a nest was 
completed in a wicker finch basket in the shelter. The nest consisted 
of grass stems copiously lined with feathers. On 13th August the hen 
flew out of the nest after I had been in the shelter for a minute or so. It 
thus appeared that sitting began on this day. On this surmise, according 
to the habits of most other estrilds, the young should hatch on 
27th August and fledge on 14th September. 

On 23rd August I went abroad for a holiday until 12th September. 



SIR R. COTTERELL-BREEDING THE VINACEOUS FIREFINCH IO 7 


I left instructions that from 27th August ant pupae and mealworms 
should be fed to them three times per day. I am told that the parents 
were not out together until 2nd September, and that they were not so 
avid after the ant pupae as most other waxbills with young. As is 
always the case with more than one pair of birds in an enclosure, it is 
impossible to ensure that the ants’ eggs are available for the birds that 
should have them. 

On my return on 12th September I inquired if there were any young 
Firefinches out, and was told not. I went to look in the aviary and was 
greeted by two young birds. I did not look in the nest in case there 
were more to come. The next day another young one was found dead 
under the nest. This was considerably less developed than the other 
two, so probably had been dead in the nest for four or five days. 

The young birds were more or less uniform mouse-brown all over 
with a very slight vinous wash, beak nondescript, and a very short 
russet tail. They were extraordinarily tame and I could walk right up 
to them on the perch. 

Five days after fledging I discontinued feeding ant pupae as they were 
difficult to get, and the parents did not appear very keen on them. This, 
I think, was a mistake. 

Four days after this the young birds, whose tails were now full length, 
were chasing the parents for food but getting no response. They were 
starting to pick up some seeds for themselves but appeared very 
hungry. So I fed ants’ eggs again for another few days. Also on this 
day the hen flew out of a new nest with one egg in it. (More of this 
anon.) The young went through a very tricky time from then on, as 
the parents seemed to be too busy with their new nest to bother about 
them. They appeared tucked-up and hungry. They were definitely 
moulting by 7th October (twenty-five days after fledging) and one 
was showing clear black markings on the face. By 23rd October 
the young hen was almost indistinguishable from her mother though 
the young cock had only about a third of his black face. 

Now to revert to the second brood. 

I was stupidly caught unawares by this, as all the Waxbills which I 
have bred have almost invariably gone to sit on a second brood, ten 
days after the previous family has fledged. Anyhow I found a barrel¬ 
shaped nest about 5 inches long by 3 inches high built of grass stems in 
some brushwood about 5 feet from the ground in the shelter. It was 
much the tidiest nest I have ever seen a Waxbill make. 

I immediately put in a mass of pigeon feathers, but these were not 
used for about three or four days, then they all disappeared. I rather 
fancy the same procedure happened the first time, i.e. the feathers were 
not used until laying was completed and sitting had begun. 

I decided to try an experiment with this brood, to see whether they 
could be reared on mealworms alone. 


108 SIR R. COTTERELL-BREEDING THE VINACEOUS FIREFINCH 

On 24th September the cock was sitting hard, which meant that they 
should hatch 8th October and fledge about 26th October. On 14th 
October I noticed that one of the parents was still always in the nest. 
But chosing my moment I was able to feel in the nest and found that 
there were definitely live young. 

I then went away for three days, leaving the same instructions that 
mealworms should be fed three times per day. 

On 17th October I noticed that the mealworms were not being taken 
and both parents were looking rather disconsolate. I felt in the nest and 
found four dead young—two well-grown, one medium, and one very 
small. I would say that they were not big enough to have fledged on 
the proper day so it looks as though they died about the time I felt in 
the nest on the 14th. The crops of the two bigger ones were full of 
pannicum millet and the younger ones were empty. 

The cause of death may have been the objection of the old birds to 
my feeling in the nest ; though this I think is most unlikely. A more 
probable cause may be that in my absence the evening mealworms were 
not fed early enough. Anyhow it was very sad. 

They went to nest again 24th October and I was in two minds 
whether to let them continue at this late date or not. However, I 
finally decided to let them go on and from hatching date fed meal¬ 
worms and an insectile mixture. Although they hatched, the young 
died after a few days, and they paid no attention either to the meal¬ 
worms or the insectile mixture. 

I think the difficulty with all the estrilds is the supply of insect food 
for rearing young. Ant pupae seem to be the answer, but it is an awful 
labour getting enough of them to keep several breeding pairs going. 
Gentles were not tried—possibly they might provide the answer. 
Undoubtedly they find a lot of various insects themselves in a planted 
outdoor aviary but these need supplementing in a suitable manner. 

The young cock has not yet (21st November) moulted into his full 
plumage, though they both look in good order—they were moved into 
an indoor birdroom about a month ago. 

Finally this is quite one of the most attractive Waxbills. They are 
reasonably tame and I feel could be bred quite easily if the insect 
problem could be solved. 

REFERENCE 

David Bannerman. Birds of Tropical West Africa, Vol. 7 

As described, Sir Richard Cotterell, Bt., has bred the Vinaceous Fire- 
finch Lagonosticta vinacea. It is believed that this may be a first success. 

Any member or reader knowing of a previous breeding of this 
species in Great Britain or Northern Ireland is requested to communi¬ 
cate at once with the Hon. Secretary. 


W. R. PARTRIDGE-BREEDING THE GREATER PATAGONIAN GONURE IO 9 


BREEDING THE GREATER PATAGONIAN 
GONURE 

(Cyanolyseus byroni) 


By W. R. Partridge (Evesham, Worcs, England) 

Early in 1960 ,1 was fortunate to find a very fine pair of these magnifi¬ 
cent birds, in a dealer’s shop, which I was able to purchase and bring 
home and install in my bird-room, until late Spring, and then transfer 
to the aviary they have since occupied. This aviary is at the end of a 
range occupied mainly by pigeons, doves, softbills, and a few small 
seedeaters. The flight is 21 ft. long, 5 ft. wide and 7 ft 6 in. high, with a 
large indoor shelter. The Greater Patagonian Conures are the only 
parrotlike birds that are regularly housed in this range, which comes 
under the care of my assistant, Peter Brown, to whom I give much of 
the credit for this, and other successful breedings in the same block. 

The Greater Patagonian Gonure (Cyanolyseus byroni) is the largest of 
the Conures, and is a native of Chile. Its colour is dark brownish-olive 
on the head, neck, and upper breast, which is crossed by a greyish- 
white band. The lower breast is yellow with an orange-red patch in the 
middle. The wings are a lighter and brighter olive, and the rump, 
yellow-bronze. The bill is horn-black. The sexes are alike in colour, but 
the male of my pair is easily distinguished from the female by his 
stronger head and beak, more masculine appearance, and larger 
orange-red patch on lower breast. Length approximately 20 in. 

This Gonure differs in size from the Lesser Patagonian Gonure 
('Cyanolyseus patagonus ) which comes from Patagonia and La Plata, 
being some 2 or 3 in. longer than the latter, and having a more definite 
greyish-white band across the upper breast. 

During 1961 and 1962, the pair were supplied with a box 11 in. 
square, 2 ft. 6 in. tall, hung 3 ft. above the ground, half way down one 
side of the flight, but their interest was confined to chewing the box to 
pieces. In the Spring of 1963 what remained of this box was removed 
and replaced by a hollo wed-out log of extremely hard wood. This log 
is 29 in. high, standing on a post, so that its base is again 3 ft. above the 
ground, and stood on the side of the aviary in the same position as the 
original box. The inside of this log measures approximately 9 in. in 
diameter, and the entrance hole, which is 20 in. above the nest, is 4 in. 
in diameter. The nest itself is formed of wood chippings chewed off the 
inside of the log by the birds themselves, and a very small amount of 
rotten wood-dust that was put in the bottom of the log when it was 
installed. 

The birds were of quite a shy disposition, and were never actually 


10 W. R. PARTRIDGE-BREEDING THE GREATER PATAGONIAN CONURE 


seen in the nest log, so it was with some surprise that on inspecting it on 
20th May, three glossy white and obviously fertile eggs were found. 
As the hen was now off the nest, and in the shelter, I risked testing them 
with a light, and estimated they had been incubated between five and 
seven days. As incubation progressed, the pair steadied down consider¬ 
ably, and the hen started remaining in the nest when one passed through 
the aviary. The nest was not inspected again until i ith June, when the ! 
hen left the nest, and feeble sounds could be heard coming from inside. j 
On inspection, all three eggs were found to have hatched, and the 
chicks looked to be from three to five days old, which would make the 
period of incubation to have been twenty-four or twenty-five days. 
By the time the chicks were two weeks old, they made themselves well 
heard on all possible occasions. The cock was not seen to enter the nest 
until after the young were hatched; from this time onwards he was 
regularly observed entering and leaving the nest, presumably to feed 
the hen, and later the chicks as well, which he continued to feed together 
with the hen, for several weeks after they left the nest. The youngsters 
progressed rapidly in growth, and were soon well feathered, but it was 
not until 4th August, when they were eight weeks old, that the first two 
youngsters left the nest. The third youngster came out two days later. 
The youngsters were exactly like their parents, excepting that the upper 
mandible was ivory-white in colour, where in the adults, it is horn- 
black. They are now, at the time of writing this article, eight months 
old, and are still identifiable from their parents by the colour of their 
beaks, which, although they have darkened considerably, are still much 
lighter than the parents. 

The young were very intelligent from the time they left the nest, and 
never flew into the wire, either on the top or end of the aviary, as so 
many young parrakeets will do, and almost immediately were following 
their parents in and out of the shelter. The only additions to their 
normal diet of canary seed, sunflower seed, and apple were several 
pieces of bread each day, and an increase in the amount of green food, 
in the form of spinach-beet, which I have found invaluable in the 
breeding season, for most young parrakeets. 

As described, W. R. Partridge has bred the Greater Patagonian 
Conure Cyanolyseus byroni. It is believed that this may be a first success. 

Any member or reader knowing of a previous breeding of this species 
in Great Britain or Northern Ireland is requested to communicate at 
once with the Hon. Secretary. 






W. R. PARTRIDGE-BREEDING THE CAYENNE SEEDEATER I I I 

BREEDING THE CAYENNE SEEDEATER 

(Sporophila frontalis) 

By W. R. Partridge (Evesham, Worcs, England) 

In November, 1959, I had ten small South American seedeaters sent 
me. They were easily identifiable as being Sporophila of some species or 
other. One was a smaller bird than the rest, which I later gave away. 
The remainder subsequently proved to be two cocks, and the rest hens, 
of Sporophila frontalis . 

As at the time I was unable to find any description of these birds, 
I treated the two cocks, on account of the different colouring, as a pair, 
and put them in an aviary with some various doves and pigeons. I was 
further mislead by the fact that both cocks and hens uttered a short 
song. What proved later to be four hens, were placed in another aviary. 

In i960 nothing was done by either lot of birds, but in 1961, after the 
leaves had fallen from a nut-bush in the aviary occupied by the cocks, 
a cup-shaped nest built of fine twigs was found. During the winter, one 
of the cocks died ; the remaining bird was put with two hens, in a 
21 ft. x 8 ft aviary, shared with a pair of Green Imperial Fruit Pigeons. 

To confirm that they were beyond doubt Sporophila frontalis , I wrote 
to our Hon. Secretary, Mr. Arthur Prestwich, to ask if he could turn up 
a description in his library. As usual, he was very helpful, and 
referred the matter to Mr. Derek Goodwin, who in turn was extremely 
helpful by supplying an excellent sketch and description of the birds, 
which are slightly smaller and thicker built than a House Sparrow. The 
cock is a general olive-brown, strongly tinged with grey throughout. 
The throat is white, broken by an olive-grey streak on either side. This 
white runs right down through to the abdomen, but below the throat it 
inclines to become greyer than the pure white of the throat. A broad 
white line runs across the brow, between the eyes, this line being broken 
in the centre by olive-brown, as in the rest of the head. A narrow white 
line extends above and behind the eye. The flanks are olive, and the 
wings show two greyish-white bars. The beak is short, thick, with 
deeply curved culmen, and is a dark horn-brown. The legs are brown. 
The female is the same size as the male, is olive-green, lacking the 
greyish tinge of the cock, and the chin is yellow, shading through the 
throat and breast to greenish-yellow. The wing bars are buffish-brown. 
Both birds have the same limited song, which can be heard for a con¬ 
siderable distance, and consists of three or four staccato notes, followed 
by a low warble. The whole song range is very short and repeated over 
and over again. 

Early in March, 1962, the cock, now with two hens, started showing 
interest in the small body-feathers moulted by the Imperial Fruit 
Pigeons that were scattered about the aviary. He would pick one up and 


9 


I 12 W. R. PARTRIDGE-BREEDING THE CAYENNE SEEDEATER 

fly to a high perch, where he would hold it in his feet, picking it up from j 
different angles and then dropping it again. A couple of weeks after his 
first interest in the feathers, he started to build a nest in a small nitida 
bush, about 2 ft. high. The nest was placed in the top of the bush, and 
was composed entirely of very thin nitida twigs and feathers. It had a 
fairly deep cup and was not lined, and it was possible to see through the 
bottom. This, like all subsequent nests, was built entirely by the cock, j 
and was completed in three days. No further interest appeared to be ! 
taken in this nest for almost a month, but on 11 th April, it was found to 
contain two eggs. There is some doubt if these two eggs were laid by the 
same hen, as they were entirely dissimilar, both in shape and colour. 
One was elongated, resembling that of a Robin, being covered by 
indistinct sandy-reddish spots, which were larger and more definite at 
the thick end. The other egg was shorter and rounder, and quite j 
heavily blotched with dark brown spots, particularly at the larger end. 
Both eggs had a white ground. 

On 13th April, one of the hens started to incubate, and the cock and 
other hen were never seen near the nest, except when anyone was in the 
aviary, and then, if the cock should fly in the bush, he was greeted with 
hisses. The hen incubated for almost a month before she finally 
abandoned the eggs, which were found to be infertile. 

On 17th May, the cock was again seen carrying feathers, and there 
shortly followed a second nest, again in a small nitida bush, but at the 
opposite end of the aviary. At first the hen seemed to accept this nest, 
but after two or three days she lost interest in it, and shortly after this, 
the cock took the nest to pieces, only to reconstruct it in a small bush 
overlooking a drinking pool. The hen showed no interest in it at all. 

On 5th June, the hen was seen to be taking an interest in her original 
nest, and on 1 ith June, two eggs were found in this nest. A further egg 
was added on the 12th, when the hen started to incubate the three eggs, 
which were all alike and similar in colour and shape to the latter of the 
first two described above. The eggs hatched in under two weeks, and the 
hen alone brooded and fed the chicks. The cock took no part in feeding 
the young, and in fact, if he approached the nest, was immediately 
driven off by the hen. Whilst she was rearing the youngsters she took 
very little canary seed, her normal diet, but seemed to spend most of her 
time catching small flies and aphis in the aviary, although she was 
supplied with any amount of aphids and ants’ eggs. She would take 
none of them, apparently relying on her own catching efforts to feed the 
chicks. 

The youngsters left the nest after fourteen days, spending the first 
two days on the ground and in low bushes, before they found the use 
of their wings, and got on to higher perches in the aviary. Some ten 
days after the youngsters left the nest, the hen went back to nest again, 
laying three more eggs from which one was hatched and reared, as was 




J. J. YEALLAND-LONDON ZOO NOTES I 13 

a fourth youngster from a fourth and final nest, by which time it was 
well into September. 

The plumage of the youngsters on leaving the nest was similar to that 
of the hen, with a more yellowish tinge on the under parts. All these 
youngsters, with the exception of one from the first round which had 
roosted in the open and was lost in a downpour of rain one night a week 
after it left the nest, proved subsequently to be hens. 

I have found these finches to be extremely hardy, surviving the 
extremely cold weather we had for some six weeks in 1963, in an 
unheated aviary. No nest was built during 1963, due, I think, to the 
fact that the cock spent a long time coming through the moult, which 
he did not start until early in the New Year. 

Apart from their nesting habits, and hardiness, I can find little to 
recommend these birds to aviculturists. Their song is strictly limited, 
they are not very colourful, and are extremely destructive to growing 
bushes. 

These Cayenne Seedeaters, under the care of my assistant, Peter 
Brown, were housed in another part of the same range in which my 
Greater Patagonian Conures bred. 

As described, W. R. Partridge has bred the Cayenne Seedeater 
Sporophila frontalis. It is believed that this may be a first success. Any 
member or reader knowing of a previous breeding of this species in 
Great Britain or Northern Ireland is requested to communicate at 
once with the Hon. Secretary. 

* * * 

LONDON ZOO NOTES 

By J. J. Yealland 

A Brunnich’s Guillemot ( Uria l. lomvia) that flew on to a ship some 
500 miles to the eastward of Cape Race, Newfoundland, was recently 
brought to the Gardens. It was the first of this species ever to be in 
the collection, if, indeed, it could be said to have been in the collection, 
for it did not long survive, being in a very emaciated condition and its 
plumage damaged by oil. 

A new subspecies is a specimen of the Fairy Bluebird ( Irena puella 
puella). The Javan I.p. turcosa is the only form to have been previously 
kept at Regent’s Park. 

Dr. K. C. Searle sent from Hong Kong a pair of Chinese Bamboo 
Partridges ( Bambusicola t. thoracica ), Red-flanked, Japanese and Chinese 
White-eyes and a Chinese Starling ( Sturnus sinensis). 

Other arrivals of particular interest are a Cheer Pheasant, Red¬ 
headed Buntings, a White-capped Tanager, Spotted Emerald Tanager 
and a pair of Azure Jays (Cyanocorax caeruleus). Kenya Eagle-Owls have 
three chicks. 


BRITISH AVIGULTURISTS’ CLUB 


I 14 


COUNCIL MEETING 

A Council Meeting was held on 9th March, 1964, at the Windsor 
Hotel, Lancaster Gate, London, W. 2. 

The following members were present :— 

Miss E. Maud Knobel, President, in the Chair. 

Sir Crawford McCullagh, Bt., Vice-President. 

Miss K. Bonner, Mr. W. D. Cummings, Miss R. Ezra, Mr. L. W. Hill, 
Mr. F. E. B. Johnson, Mr. R. G. Kirkham, Mr. K. A. Norris, Mr. C. M. 
Payne, Mr. D. H. S. Risdon, Mr. E. O. Squire, Mr. N. R. Steel, 
Mr. J. J. Yealland, and Mr. A. A. Prestwich, Hon. Secretary. 

The Hon. Secretary-Treasurer gave reports for 1963. 

The Society’s Awards 

A Certificate of Merit was awarded to the Zoological Society of 
London, for the first breeding of the African Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis. 


Hon. Life Member 

Mrs. C. H. Seth-Smith was elected an Hon. Life Member of the 
Society. 

Arthur A. Prestwich, 

Hon. Secretary. 


BRITISH AVICULTURISTS’ CLUB 

Dinners and Meetings during the 1964-65 session have been arranged 
for the following dates : 

Monday, 14th September, 1964. 

,, 9th November, 1964. 

,, 8th March, 1965. 

„ 10th May, 1965. 

The Dinners will be held at the Windsor Hotel, Lancaster Gate, 
London, W. 2. 

Arthur A. Prestwich, 

Hon. Secretary. 

The eighty-fourth meeting of the Club was held at the Windsor 
Hotel, Lancaster Gate, London, W. 2., on Monday, 9th March, 1964, 
following a dinner at 7 p.m. 






NEWS AND VIEWS 


”5 


Chairman : Mr. K. Norris. 

Members of the Club : Miss P. Barclay-Smith, A. W. Bolton, Miss 
K. Bonner, R. A. Chester, W. D. Cummings, J. O. D’eath, C. W. 
Desmond, B. Dittrich, Mrs. W. Duggans, Miss R. Ezra, Dr. R. 
Gottlieb, A. V. Griffiths, H. J. Harman, L. W. Hill, Dr. E. Hindle, 
F. E. B. Johnson, Mrs. S. Johnstone, F. T. Jones, Dr. S. B. Kendall, 
R. G. Kirkham, Miss E. M. Knobel, G. B. Lane, R. F. Marshall, 
Sir Crawford McCullagh, Bt., W. R. Partridge, C. M. Payne, W. H. 
Phillips, A. A. Prestwich, D. H. S. Risdon, B. E. Robinson, R. C. J. 
Sawyer, Mrs. H. Seth-Smith, H. A. Snazle, E. O. Squire, N. R. Steel, 
A. J. Swain, P. L. Wayre, P. O. Williams. 

Members of the Club, thirty-nine ; guests, sixteen ; total fifty-five. 
The evening was devoted to a conversazione. 

Arthur A. Prestwich, 

Hon. Secretary. 

* ❖ & 


NEWS AND VIEWS 

In the January, 1964, number of Bird Keeping in Australia there is an 
interesting report that the cinnamon mutation of the Cordon-bleu is 
gradually increasing, being bred by several aviculturists. A fawn or 
cinnamon mutation of the St. Helena Waxbill has also appeared. 

* * * 

The U.S. Secretary of the Interior has announced the arrival of 
thirty-three Whooping Cranes at their wintering grounds in the 
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. This is an increase of five 
in the flock that had left in the spring. Of great importance is the fact 
that there are no less than seven young birds of the year, whereas in the 
previous year there had been none. 

* * * 

Sir Edward Hallstrom, Director of the Taronga Zoological Park 
Trust, Australia, has been made an Honorary Fellow of the Zoological 
Society of London. Sir Edward has presented many collections to the 
Society. Perhaps the most noteworthy is the representative collection 
of Australian fauna which the Society received in commemoration of 
the visit of H.M. The Queen and H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh to 
Australia in 1963. 

* * * 

J. C. Peters, Veterinary Surgeon, Blijdorp Zoo, Rotterdam, success¬ 
fully fitted an artificial bill to a Ground Hornbill in 1957 (see Avicult. 
Mag., 1958, p. 125). A somewhat similar operation has been carried 
through by Mr. Wilfred Lawson, a dental specialist. About two years 
ago a toucan in the possession of K. A. Norris was attacked by its mate 


i6 


REVIEWS 


and its beak was badly damaged. Mr. Lawson fixed a metal and 
plastic “ beak ” to the damaged one, thus enabling the bird to eat 
naturally. Now the beak is nearly normal. 

* * * 

The Yellow-billed Hornbill Lophoceros jiavirostris was bred in the 
Bloemfontein Zoological Gardens towards the end of 1961. A short 
breeding account in The Ostrich , December, 1963, says that three eggs, 
laid in a hollow palm stump, proved to be infertile. Shortly after two 
more were laid and these were successfully hatched, after an incubation 
period of twenty-one days. The young ones left the nest when they 1 
were eleven weeks old. One was drowned in the pond in the aviary a 
few days later but the other was apparently fully reared. On the first 
attempt the cock took five days to close the nest entrance, and on the 
second two only. On the second occasion the nest opening was normal 
again after nine weeks. 

* * * 

I sometimes wonder why so many overseas aviculturists, more 
particularly American, call Poephila gouldiae the Lady Gould Finch. 
The black-headed phase of this finch was discovered by John Gilbert 
on Greenhill Island, at the head of Van Diemen Gulf. John Gould, in 
naming the Gouldian Finch in honour of his wife Elizabeth, writes : 

“ It is with feelings of the purest affection that I ventured in the folio 
edition to dedicate this lovely bird to the memory of my late wife, who 
for many years laboriously assisted me with her pencil, accompanied 
me to Australia, and cheerfully interested herself in all my pursuits 
Mrs. Gould (nee Coxen) was indeed a very skilful artist and was 
responsible for many of the plates in her husband’s works. The mother 
of five children, Mrs. Gould died at the early age of thirty-seven 
(i8thjuly, 1804-15^ August, 1841). 

It is quite correct to preface Amherst’s Pheasant with “ Lady ”, also 
to apply the title to the one time Lady Impey’s Pheasant, now com¬ 
monly Impeyan : but Lady Gould’s Finch is quite inadmissable. 

A. A. P. 

* * ❖ 

REVIEWS 

BIRDS OF THE LABRADOR PENINSULAR AND ADJACENT 
AREAS. By W. E. Clyde Todd. University of Toronto Press and 
Oxford University Press, London, 1964. Price £7 ys. 

This is stated to be a distributional list, published in association with 
the Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh, but such a modest title gives a very 
inadequate idea of the contents of this impressive volume. The earlier 
part summarizes the twenty-five expeditions which the writer or his 
colleagues undertook to collect information on the bird life of the 






REVIEWS 


117 

region. Most of these involved travelling the “ hard way ”, sometimes 
in virtually unexplored territory, before the advent of aeroplanes, and 
in themselves are of considerable geographical interest. 

The birds of this region are more numerous than might have been 
anticipated, a total of 338 species and sub-species being covered in the 
present work. Forty-six of these are classified as Accidental-Visitants, 
mostly from other parts of America but ten are definitely of European 
origin. Three species—two puffins and a petrel—from the Southern 
Hemisphere, which come north to escape the southern winter, are 
classified as Summer-Migrants. Twenty species are Transient- 
Visitants, breeding in the far north and wintering to the south beyond 
the limits of Labrador. There are 49 Permanent-Residents, but many 
of these are resident only in the sense that they are known to pass the 
winter season somewhere in the territory and most of them move about 
with the changing seasons. Four species are Winter-Residents breeding 
outside the area. The great bulk of the avifauna, however, is composed 
of 200 species and sub-species of Summer-Resident birds, which 
winter farther south and migrate northward in spring to reach their 
breeding grounds, leaving again on the approach of winter. 

The general introduction is followed by a systematic list of the species 
and their study and consideration from a taxonomic standpoint is an 
important part of the memoir. The main theme, however, is concerned 
with the problems of distribution, general and local, of the Labrador 
avifauna. All definite locality-records for each species have been 
plotted on separate maps and some of them are reproduced in the present 
volume. The presentation is aimed to show the significance of climatic, 
ecological, and topographic conditions as distributional factors. The 
result is a valuable addition to our knowledge of the avifauna of a little 
known region. 

E. H. 


CHECK-LIST OF BIRDS OF THE WORLD. Vol. X. A con¬ 
tinuation of the work of James L. Peters. Edited by Ernst Mayr 
and Raymond A. Paynter Jr. Museum of Comparative Zoology, 
Cambridge, Mass. U.S.A., 1964. Price 10 dollars. 

As justly stated in the introduction to the present volume, Peters’ 
Check-list has long been recognized as an indispensable reference for 
reliable information on the classification, correct names, synonymies 
and geographical distribution of birds and there is nothing like it in 
the world literature for any other kind of organism. 

One minor change in the present Volume is the elimination of 
vernacular names. There were criticisms on the selection of the 
English names used in Volumes IX and XV and the critics seemed to 


118 


CORRESPONDENCE 


feel that an effort should be made to standardize and supply appro¬ 
priate English names for all species. This would have involved cumber¬ 
some polls and other elaborate procedures beyond the scope of a 
scientific work, so acting on the advice of ten of the 12 authors of this 
and forthcoming volumes the vernacular names have been omitted. 
This step will be regretted by the less experienced amateur but it was 
obvious that the Editors could not take any other decision. 

Volume X deals with two families of the Passeriformes, Suborder 
Oscines, of very unequal size, comprising the Prunellidae (Accentors) 
with only one genus Prunella and the Muscicapidae divided into six 
sub-families. S. Dillon Ripley is responsible for the Prunellidae and the 
sub-family Turdinae (Thrushes) ; the sub-family Polioptilinae (Gnat 
catchers and allies) is by Raymond A. Paynter Jr. and the remaining 
four sub-families—Orthonychinae (Logrunners), Timaliinae 

(Babblers), Panurinae (Parrotbills) and Picathartinae (Picathartes) i 
are by Herbert G. Deignan. 

P. B-S. 


* ❖ * 


CORRESPONDENCE 

BARTLETT’S BLEEDING-HEART PIGEONS 

Following Mr. C. Naether’s interesting article in this magazine for November- 
December, 1963, I would like to state that the typical form criniger inhabits Mindanao, 
with a closely related form in Samar and the Basilan group of islands. The late Madame 
E. Lecallier and M A. Decoux, in France, reared the species several times between 
1920 and 1939—I was myself successful at Los Angeles between 1953 and 1958, ten 
birds being raised to maturity by one pair. After the death of the breeding male, 
the female, mated to one of her sons, never laid again, neither at Los Angeles, nor since 
i960 at Cleres, where she still lives. This dove never lays more than one egg in a 
clutch, while the Common Luzon Bleeding-heart lays two. 

Chateau de Cleres, J. Delacour 

France. 


The Editor does not accept responsibility for opinions expressed in articles, notes, or 
correspondence. 





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FOODS 



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1 lb. 

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3 oz. 

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2 lb. 

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1 lb. 

5/6 

food consisting of lettuce, 

3* lb. 

7/9 

56 lb. 80/- 

3* lb. 

16/3 

spinach, carrot, etc., readily 
taken by all birds. 

Packets 1/3 & 3/10, also sold 
in bulk. 

7 lb. 

13/9 

1 cwt. 150/- 

7 lb. 

31/- 


All the above prices are carriage paid 


MEALWORMS 

“ MARBA ” DUTCH BRED “ SANTA ” GERMAN BRED 

(small type) (large type) 

Whether you prefer the small Dutch mealworm or the larger German type, 
we can give you the finest service obtainable, with shipments arriving twice 
weekly. Dispatch guaranteed same day as orders received. 

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Also in original Boxes as imported Nett weight guaranteed 

2 lb. 47/6 3i lb. 66/6 6* lb. £6 5s. Od. All Carriage Paid. 


MAGGOTS 

We sell only the best liver-fed maggots, specially recleaned and ready for 
immediate use for bird feeding. Packed in bran. No mess or smell. 

2 oz. 4 oz. 8 oz. I lb. 

3/4 4/6 7/- 10/6 


FEEDING SUNDRIES 


Dried Flies (Chinese) 

Silkworm pupae (Whole) 

„ „ (Ground) 

Dried Dragonfly larvae .... 

Dried Shrimp (Fine, Medium, or Coarse) . 

Ant Eggs ...... 

Pure Dried Egg ..... 

Dried Rowan Berries (Whole) 

„ „ „ (Crushed) 

Pure Breadcrumbs (Fine, Medium, or Coarse), far superior to 

biscuit meal.2 lb. 3/- ; 4 lb. 5/6 ; 14 lb. 17/6 

“ Egg-crumbs,” guaranteed to consist of 90 per cent breadcrumbs and 

10 per cent pure egg . .2 lb. 5/6 ; 4 lb. 10/6 ; 7 lb. 17/6 

ALL ABOVE PRICES ARE POST PAID 


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28 lb. 28/- 


E. W. COOMBS, LTD. 

CROSS STREET WORKS, CHATHAM, KEHT 

Telephone : Chatham 44969 Telegrams : Avicult , Chatham , Kent 












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Brief biographies of men and women in whose honour 

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EDENBRIDGE, KENT. 

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When Visiting the 

COTSWOLDS 

AVICULTURISTS ARE WELCOME 

TO 



Set in the charm oj an 
old English Garden at 
the lovely Village oj 

BO UR TON- ON- THE - WA TER 
















CANDIDATES FOR ELECTION 

Francis Akers-Douglas, Red Court, Crawley Down, Sussex. Proposed by A. A. 
Prestwich. 

A. E. Black, 5 Caughall Road, Upton-by-Chester, Cheshire. Proposed by W. P. 
Bland. 

Heinrich Bregulla, Malersteig 4, 1 Berlin 47, Western Germany. Proposed by A. A. 
Prestwich. 

Michael E. Clifford, Edford, Brook Street, West Bromwich, Staffs. Proposed by 
W. C. H. Spooner. 

Terence Davison, Star Cottage, Fulbrook, Burford, Oxfordshire. Proposed by L. W. 
Hill. 

Dr. Humberto T. Ferreira, Rua Barao de S. Francisco 322, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 
Proposed by C. Marler. 

B. H. Gray, 53 The Pyghtile, Wellingborough, Northants. Proposed by L. W. Hill. 
James C. Holcomb, 4705 Dody Street, Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S.A. Proposed by 

Carter L. Hood. 

Robert R. Jackson, Tannenwald, Camp End Road, Weybridge, Surrey. Proposed 
by L. W. Hill. 

Michel Lacoste, i avenue du Marechal Maunoury, Paris 16, France. Proposed by 
A. A. Prestwich. 

Norman C. Lewis, Greycot, Raby Park Road, Neston, Cheshire. Proposed by L, W. 
Hill. 

Brian P. Meade, 274 Firs Lane, Palmers Green, London, N.13. Proposed by F. C. 
Astles. 

Bryan E. Reed, 46 The Oval, Park Lane Estate, Wednesbury, S. Staffs. Proposed by 
G. E. Whitmore. 

Robin L. Restall, No. 17C Lime Grove, New Malden, Surrey. Proposed by 
Mrs. W. Duggans. 

Dr. Ian R. Robertson, 47 Port Hill Road, Shrewsbury, Shropshire. Proposed by A. 
A. Prestwich. 

T. D. Rothery, 11 Albion Avenue, Newton Drive, Blackpool. Proposed by W. P. 
Bland. 

Robert Specian, 5900 Cypress Road, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.A. Proposed 
by A. A. Prestwich. 

G. W. M. Taylor, Cooleen, Grange Road, Ballymena, Co. Antrim, N. Ireland. 
Proposed by Sir Crawford McCullagh, Bt. 

NEW MEMBERS 

The seventeen candidates for Election in the March-April, 1964, number of the 
Avicultural Magazine were duly elected members of the Society. 

CORRECTED NAMES AND ADDRESSES 
Andrew R. Hynd, 6 Belsize Road, Dundee, Angus, Scotland. 

Rafael S. Medina, Canteras 28, Las Palmas de Gran, Canaria, Canary Islands^ 
Mrs. B. E. T. Michell, Whitehall Lodge, Ifield, Sussex. 

CHANGES OF ADDRESS 

F. W. Auburn, to Moxhams Mill House, The Bartons Road, Fordingbridge, Hamp¬ 
shire. 

Gilbert J. Barker, to 6 Peter Avenue, Blackburn North, Melbourne, Victoria, 
Australia. 

William J. Bourne, to 36 Lower Church Street, Croydon, Surrey. 

Lt.-Col. J. M. Brockbank, to Manor House, Steeple Langford, Salisbury, Wiltshire. 
Miss D. I. Cafferty, to 401 Fullerton Parkway, Chicago 14, Illinois, U. S. A. 
Michael K. Clark, to 141 The Ryde, Hatfield, Herts. 

J. J. C. Mallinson, to Old Coach House, Three Oaks, St. Lawrence, Jersey, Channel 
Islands. 

H. W. H. Ozanne, to Hida Cottage, Perelle, St. Saviour’s, Guernsey, C.I. 

Bryan F. Roberts, to Forest Road, Piddington, Northampton. 

Jon. B. Sigurdsson, to Asvallagata 3, Reykjavik, Iceland. 


DONATIONS 
(Coloured Plate Fund) 


H. Bancroft . 

Mrs. E. J. Birchall 
A. Birtles 
H. W. Clarke 
L. Cox 
G. Detry 

Mrs. W. Duggans . 

Mrs. J. W. Flintoft 
D. Goodwin 
A. V. Griffiths 
Dr. J. R. Hodges . 

J. A. Johnson 
Natal Zoological Gardens 
A. J. O’Brien 
P. G. Paris . 

Mrs. F. Poe . 

Mrs. M. Williams 


£ 

s. 

d. 


10 

0 

1 

0 

0 


10 

0 

5 

0 

0 


5 

0 


16 

0 


10 

0 


16 

0 

6 

0 

0 

1 

1 

0 


10 

0 


5 

0 


10 

0 

1 

10 

0 


10 

0 

1 

10 

0 

2 

IP 

0 


MEMBERS’ ADVERTISEMENTS 

The charge for Members’ advertisements is threepence per word. Payment must accompany 
the advertisement , which must be sent on or before the 15 th of the month to A. A. Prestwich, 
Galley’s Wood, Edenbridge, Kent. All members of the Society are entitled to use this 
column , but the Council reserves the right to refuse any advertisements they consider unsuitable. 

For Rare Birds contact Baidyanath Acooli. Exporter of Rare Indian animals. Post 
Box 12008, Calcutta 2, India. 

Wanted. Avicultural Magazine. Any good series previous 1958.—G. Detry, 
1 Avenue des Princes, Wavre, Belgium. 

For Sale. The Birds of Tropical West Africa , by David Armitage Bannerman. 8 
volumes in perfect condition. Offers ?—A. Clarence, 25 Elms Avenue, Parkstone 
Poole. 

Bird Notes, the Journal of the Foreign Bird Club, seventy-six odd parts. Offers to 
Hon. Secretary, Galley’s Wood, Edenbridge, Kent. 1 

Will any breeder of African Owls please contact Mrs. F. V. Michell, Whitehall 
Lodge, Ifield, Sussex. 


Ideal for bird watching. Converted loose boxes overlooking breeding waters of 
ornamental wildfowl farm. Surrounded by farmland yet good commuting London. 
Three bedrooms, bathroom, dining-room, sitting-room 26 ft. by 15 ft., cloakroom, 
kitchen, garage, acre. Mrs. F. V. Michell, Whitehall, Ifield, Sussex. 


STEPHEN AUSTIN AND SONS, LTD., PRINTERS, HERTFORD 








<fg.%ob 42- Division of Binis 

f* AVICULTURAL 
MAGAZINE 



PAGE 

Breeding of the Thailand Hoopoe ( Upupa epops longirostris) Jerdon {with plates ), 
by Kenton G. Lint . . . . . . . . . .119 

The Curassows, Who they are, How they are kept and bred, by Jack L. Throp 123 
Breeding the Red-winged Starling, by Charles Everitt . . . 133 

The Parrots of Australia : 8. The Mulga Parrot {Psephotus varius) {with plates ), 
by Joseph M. Forshaw . . . . . . . . .136 

Breeding the Thick-billed Green Pigeon {Treron curvirostra) , by G. E. Whitmore 146 
Breeding the Natal Francolin {Francolin natalensis), by K. S. Harrap . *146 

News from the Berlin Zoological Garden, by Dr. Heinz Georg Klos . . 147 

London Zoo Notes, by J. J. Yealland . . . . ' . . . 149 


News and Views . . . . . . . . . . 149 

Reviews ............ 151 

Notes ............. 154 


VOL. 70 No. 4 PRICE 7/6 JULY-AUGUST 

1964 









THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY 

Founded 1894 

President: Miss £. Maud Knobel. 

Hon. Secretary and Treasurer : A. A. Prestwich, Galley’s Wood, 
Nr. Edenbridge, Kent. 

Assistant Secretary : Miss Kay Bonner. 

Membership Subscription is £2 per annum, due on 1st January each year, and 
payable in advance. Life Membership £25. Subscriptions, Change of Address, 
Names of Candidates for Membership, etc., should be sent to the Hon. Secretary. 


THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA 

Hon. President : Mr. Jean Delacour. 

President: Mr. A. N. Lopez. 

Secretary: Mr. David West, 209 N. 18th Street, Montebello, California, U.S.A. 

The annual dues of the Society are $4.00 per year, payable in advance. The 
Society year begins 1st January, but new members may be admitted at any time. 
Members receive a monthly bulletin. Correspondence regarding membership, etc., 
should be directed to the Secretary. 


THE AVICULTURAL MAGAZINE 

The Magazine is published bi-monthly, and sent free to all members of the 
Avicultural Society. Members joining at any time during the year are entitled to the 
back numbers for the current year on the payment of subscription. All matter for 
publication in the Magazine should be addressed to :— 

The Editor : Miss Phyllis Barclay-Smith, M.B.E., 51 Warwick Avenue, 
London, W. 9. Telephone : Cunningham 3006. 

The price of the Magazine to non-members is 7 s. 6d., post free, per copy, or £2 5 s. 
for the year. Orders for the Magazine, extra copies and back numbers (from 1917) 
should be sent to the publishers, Stephen Austin & Sons, Ltd., Caxton Hill, Ware 
Road, Hertford, England. Telephone: Hertford 2352/3/4. 








Avicult. Mag. 



Copyright ] [Van Nostrand 

Male Thailand Hoopoe at Nesting Hole 
Offering Insegtile Food to Chick. 

Young twenty-one days old. 

Frontispiece 



Avicultural Magazine 

THE JOURNAL OF THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY 


Vol. 70.—No. 4 .—All rights reserved. JULY-AUGUST, 1964 


BREEDING OF THE THAILAND HOOPOE 

Upupa epops longirostris Jerdon 

By Kenton C. Lint (Curator of Birds, San Diego Zoological Garden, 

Calif., U.S.A.) 

This paper reports the successful nesting and rearing of two Thailand 
Hoopoe chicks. It is believed to be the first breeding record for the 
family in the Western Hemisphere as well as the first captive breeding 
record for this subspecies. 

Upupidae is a monospecific family of Old World birds with nine 
subspecies ranging over southern Europe east to Asia and south across 
Africa to Madagascar. 

Captive observations on the nesting habits of this family have been 
rarely reported due to the fact that hoopoes are difficult to maintain. 

On 16th September, 1961, six specimens of the Thailand Hoopoe 
arrived from Bangkok. These birds were collected by Mr. Swart 
Chantharojvong, collector and exporter of Thailand fauna. Since the 
birds were yearlings, no breeding activity was observed in 1961 nor in 
1962. 

In September, 1963, twenty-three new aviaries were designed and 
constructed for the exhibition of exotic birds. The Hoopoes were moved 
from their old aviary into one of the new aviaries. A new cage was 
especially designed for these birds, measuring 7 feet in height, 6 feet in 
width, and 6 feet in depth. Since they are hole nesters, recesses were 
constructed for nesting facilities. A wooden box 14 inches long, 16 inches 
wide, and 15 inches high with a 6-in. entrance was bolted on the 
inside to the cement wall. 

In 1963, a pair of birds showed interest in the nesting facilities 
although no mating was observed and no eggs were laid. 

Prenesting Behaviour 

In Early March, 1964, two birds were noted to be particularly 
10 

wnramw 

lasnwd 1 AUG $1] 






120 


KENTON C. LINT-BREEDING OF THE THAILAND HOOPOE 


interested in each other and subsequent mating was observed. A daily 
ration of from six to eight mealworms was fed to each. The male would 
take a mealworm in his bill, advance to the female and present the 
grub. He would then wait until she had accepted and devoured his 
offering. The cock, a particularly tame bird, would fly to the aviary 
wire begging for an additional mealworm. If this was given he would 
return to the hen, repeating the performance until her appetite was 
satisfied. After the feeding she was seen to fly to a perch and rest. Only 
then did the male feed himself. It appears the females will accept food 
from the males only after they have reached a particular stage in the 
sexual cycle. From our observations it would seem that the males are 
the first to come into breeding condition. Food passing is a form of 
courtship and an important feature in the breeding behaviour of the 
family Upupidae. 

Selection of the Nest 

We observed that the nesting site was chosen by the male, a box 
placed in a recess in the aviary wall. The cock runs around, raising 
and lowering his crest, fluttering about, at the same time producing 
soft calls to attract the hen’s attention. This interesting courtship 
behaviour was observed for approximately a fortnight, during which 
time the hen was indifferent to the advances of the cock. 

On the 27th March, the male was seen to be paying particular 
interest in the nesting site. He would fly suddenly to the hole, enter 
and exit, after which he would walk round and round, displaying and 
calling to the female to consider his choice. Several days passed with 
the hen giving but little notice to the male’s behaviour. However, 
on the 6th April, the female was seen to peer into the nest, though with¬ 
out the sustained interest of her suitor. The following morning, 4 inches 
of pine shavings were placed in the nest—which appeared to spur the 
hen’s interest. Both birds were observed entering the nest where they 
spent a greater part of the day. 

Further observations showed the pair would come to the ground, 
feed, then return to the nest. We could now expect the laying of eggs i 
within a short period. 

Eggs and Incubation 

In the literature, the clutch is said to consist of from four to six pale 
blue eggs (Austin, 1961). On the 11 th April the hen was observed 
sitting on a single egg. We believe that the second and third eggs were 
laid on the 12th and 13th April respectively. The first egg, unfortun¬ 
ately, was infertile. Only the hen sits, eighteen days, for the incubation 
period. She leaves the nest only to drink and for short intervals during i 
the morning and evening. As in the case of Hornbills, she is fed in the 
nest by the male. 






Avicult. Mag. 



Copyright] [Roger Wrenn, San Diego Union 

Thailand Hoopoe Chicks (Upupa epops longirostris). 

Age twenty-nine days, 29th May, 1964. 


[To face p . 120 










Avicult. Mag. 



[To face p. 121 


Copyright ] [Van Nostrand 

Male Hoopoe Feeding Smaller Chick. 

Notice adult’s bill is inserted deeply into chick’s gape when the bill is open. Young twenty-nine days old. 











KENTON C. LINT-BREEDING OF THE THAILAND HOOPOE 


121 


On the i st May I passed the Hoopoe aviary and heard a faint 
squeaking coming from the nest. This sound is reminiscent of that 
made by baby mice. I immediately placed a container of small 
mealworms in the aviary. The cock bird carried eight mealworms, in 
separate trips, to the sitting hen. We believe the mealworms were later 
regurgitated to feed the nestlings. 

For a fortnight following hatching the male continued to feed the 
hen who would not allow him to enter the nest. She would raise her 
crest, wing, and body feathers in order to block the nesting hole. On 
the sixteenth day the cock was first seen in the nest feeding the young. 
Shortly thereafter the chicks could be seen moving around in the nest, 
begging food. 

When seen leaving the nest the young were perfect replicas of their 
parents though somewhat smaller, duller in coloration, and with shorter 
bills. The chicks remained in the nest for twenty-eight days. One chick 
flew out of the nest on the twenty-eighth day, the second on the 
twenty-ninth day. 

Because Hoopoe nestlings are fed insectile food, great quantities of 
insects must be provided daily. We believe the young birds are reared 
primarily on live food—mealworms, earthworms, and larvae of the 
Larder Beetle ; therefore, in addition to the basic diet, Table i, the 
following feeding schedule was established :— 


Time. 

Quantity at each feeding. 
(For four birds). 

6.30 a.m. . 

10 mealworms 

8 a.m. 

20 

55 

10 a.m. 

20 


12 Noon 

10 

55 

2 p.m. 

20 

55 

4 p.m. 

20 

55 

6.30 p.m. . 

10 

55 


The mealworms we feed are Tenebrio molitor, averaging approxi¬ 
mately 50 mg. each ; these are purchased weekly and are packed in 
wheat bran which contains some larvae of the Larder Beetle (Dermestes 
lardarius). About 120 grams of soil containing innumerable newly 
hatched earthworms are also placed in the aviary each morning and 
evening. 

Our observations indicated that the majority of these worms was not 
consumed by the adults ; but rather, they were carried to the nest to 
provide food for the the young. The chicks, now thirty-six days old, have 
been down to the feeding area but have not yet been seen eating by 
themselves. 

Contrary to the stories found in the literature referring to filth in the 
nest and a malodorous secretion expelled by the female during the 
brooding season, our experience has been that the nests were clean and 
the female at no time gave off an unpleasant smelling liquid as a 
protective measure for the nest. 




22 


KENTON G. LINT-BREEDING OF THE THAILAND HOOPOE 


Table i. —(Basic Diet for Hoopoes Fed a.m. and p.m.) 

gm. 


Ground lean horse meat ...... 60 

Stale white bread crumbs . . . . . 17 

Shrimp meal ........ 8 

Dried flies . . . . . . . . 10 

Cooked egg yolk ....... 60 

Wheat hearts 1 ....... 20 

Ground Dog Chow 2 ..... 20 

Dried skim milk ....... 5 


200 

Mix thoroughly before feeding 
Chick-size oyster shells ad libitum 


1 Wheat Hearts. % 

(Wheat cereal manufactured by General Mills, Inc. 

Sperry Operations, San Francisco, California) 

Crude protein not less than . . . . . 14*2 

Crude fat not less than . . . . . . 3-3 

Crude fiber not more than . . . . . 5*4 

NFE not less than . . . . . . . 70-7 

Ash not more than . . . . . . . 1-4 

Ingredients 

Wheat flour, ground wheat and Wheat germ meal. 

2 Ground Dog Chow. % 

(Ralston Purina Co., St. Louis, Missouri) 

Crude protein not less than . . . . . 24-0 

Crude fat not less than . . . . . . 7-0 

Crude fiber not more than . . . . . 4-5 

Ash not more than . . . . . . . 1 o • o 


Ingredients 

Meat and bone meal, wheat germ meal, ground oat groats, 
ground yellow corn, ground wheat, soybean meal, cereal food 
crumbs, dried whole whey, animal fat preserved with BHA, vitamin 
B 12 supplement, artificial colouring, pyridoxine hydrochloride, 
riboflavin supplement, brewers’ dried yeast, vitamin A supplement, 

D activated plant sterol, vitamin E supplement, thiamin, niacin, 

0-5 per cent iodized salt, and traces of manganese sulphate, 
manganous oxide, zinc oxide, iron oxide, copper oxide, cobalt 
carbonate. 

There is a definite need for more detailed observations of this Old 
World family, both in wild and aviary birds. 

LITERATURE 

Austin, Oliver L., Jr .—Birds of the World, Golden Press, N.Y., 1961. 














JACK L. THROP-THE CURASSOWS 


123 


THE CURASSOWS 

Who they are, How they are kept and bred 

Jack L. Throp (Curator of birds, Arizona Zoological Society, Phoenix, 

Arizona, U.S.A.) 

I have found that there is a dearth of information concerning 
Curassows in avicultural literature. They are bred in captivity, 
infrequently and seldom is the event recorded in any detail. Even then 
the details are sometimes conflicting. The following article is an effort 
to introduce the Curassow as an aviary bird, to aid in identifying them 
and to lend to the general knowledge information based on the rearing 
of thirty-four young by the combined efforts of myself and Bernard Roer 
of Phoenix. 

Curassows are the principle members of the family Cracidae, the 
others being the Guans and Chachalacas. They are chiefly tree 
dwellers from the forests of South and Central America. The Curassows 
are large and heavy birds, some species equal turkeys in size. The 
general colour characteristics for the group would be, males—black 
bodies with white abdomens and a crest that is strongly curled forward, 
the females—marked or barred with black, brown and white, 
abdomens chestnut-brown, and also crested. 

There is a certain amount of confusion in the common names of the 
various species of Curassows ; there even exists some disagreement 
among taxonomists as to the number of subspecies. In this regard 
I have followed the nomenclature of Peters and endeavour to avoid 
any arguments. As for the common names, we have purchased 
“ Crested 55 Curassows three different times from dealers and received 
three different species—and none of these were the bird generally 
accepted as being the Crested Curassow. I can hope that the following 
list of species and subspecies will help to clarify matters. I will say that 
it can relieve some of my own tensions to see it all down in an orderly 
fashion. 

Great Crested Curassow, frequently called Globose, Mexican. 

Crax rubra rubra (synonym -globicera, panamensis , hecki , chapmani ). 

Range : from southern Mexico throughout Central America to 
western Ecuador. 

This species is the largest of the Curassows. The male has a black 
body with a blue-green reflection to the feathers, the abdomen is 
snowy white, the legs are black, the crest is strongly curled forward, tail 
is black with the outer feathers sometimes tipped with white, the eyes 
are brown, the bill is black, with a yellow base. A conspicuous yellow 
knob on the upper mandible grows an even more intense yellow during 
the breeding season. There exists a barred black phase of this bird that 
is very rare. Raymond H. Paynter says that probably every local 


124 


JACK L. THROP-THE CURASSOWS 


hunter (Yucatan) can recall having seen a few in his lifetime. It is 
considered a distinct species by the Mayas and is known as Bolonchan. 
The females differ entirely from the males. The crest is barred with 
white and is even more showy than the males, the head, neck and 
throat are barred with black and white. The chest and mantle are 
black washed with rufous, the lower back is chestnut-brown, the under 
parts are cinnamon. 

Cozumel Curassow 
Crax rubra griscomi 

This bird is a small race of the Great Crested, restricted to the 
Island of Cozumel off Yucatan. They are thought to be very close to 
extinction. 

Crested Curassow, referred to sometimes as Globose. 

Crax nigra (syn. alector, erthrognatha ) 

Range : eastern Colombia, southern Venezuela, the Guianas, and 
the upper Rio Negro region of Brazil. The body is black with a purple 
tint, the belly, flanks, and under tail-coverts are an immaculate white. 
The crest is strongly curled, the feet are bluish-grey, the base of the bill 
is yellow, the bill itself is coloured a blue horn, the eyes are brown. 
This bird’s bill is not adorned with knob or wattle. 

The female is coloured like the male but her crest is slightly barred 
with white and the bill at the base is brown. 

Prince Albert’s Curassow—Colombian 
Crax alberti alberti 

Range : Colombia, known definitely only from the Santa Marta 
region, Honda, and Rio Magdalena. 

The male is black with a blue-green reflection, the tail is tipped with 
white, the abdomen is white, crest is curled, eye is dark brown, legs are j 
horn-blue. The beak is horn-coloured with a blue wattle on either side 
at the base. 

Female : the crest feathers are black with two narrow white cross 
bars, the abdomen is deep chestnut, over the whole upper is a barring 
of buff, the beak is black. 

Daubenton’s Curassow 
Crax alberti daubentoni 

Range : northern Venezuela, British Guiana, and possibly Surinam? 
Males ; black with a metallic tint, the tail is tipped with white, a pale 
yellow wattle on either side of the base of the lower mandible, the bill is 
black, the feet greenish, the eyes are red-brown. 

Females : crest is white near the base, the breast and sides are 
barred with white, the abdomen is white and the tail feathers are tipped 
with white. 




JACK L. THROP-THE CURASSOWS 


125 


Banded Curassow 

Craxfasciolatafasciolata 

Range : Brazil, in the state of Para, east to the Tocantins River, 
south to Mato Grosso. 

Sclater’s Curassow 

Craxfasciolata sclateri (syn. sulcirostus ) 

Range : south-eastern Bolivia, Paraguay and Sao Paulo, south to 
Argentina, Chaco and Misiones. 

Male : very similar to Crested Curassow but has plumage glossed 
with dark green and the tail is tipped with white ; 30 inches. 

Female : has narrow white cross bars over the whole of the upper 
plumage. The breast and sides are buff barred with black, the thighs 
and abdomen are pale rufous-buff. 

Pinima Curassow 

Craxpinima (syn. incommoda) 

Range : eastern Brazil in the state of Para. 

Female ; the tail is uniform black, the thighs and breast are barred 
with buff. 

Yarrell’s Curassow, sometimes called Globulose 
Crax globulosa (syn. carunculata ) 

Range: Amazonian Ecuador and Peru, east to western Mato 
Grosso. 

Male ; resembles Crax rubra but the knob at the base of the upper 
mandible and wattles are scarlet instead of yellow ; about 32 inches. 

Female ; crest barred with white, the abdomen, flanks, and under 
tail coverts are rufous. The basal half of the bill is scarlet but there is 
no knob. 

Red Wattled Curassow 

Crax blumenbachii (syn. rubrirostris ) 

Range : eastern Brazil in the states of Bahia (southern portion) 
Espirito Santo, Rio de Janeiro and southern Minas Gerais. 

Male ; curled crest, black plumage with a greenish reflection, tail is 
entirely black, abdomen is white, eye is brown, bill black, wattle is 
bright red, skin around eye is often red, legs are a horn-pink in colour. 

Female ; black, crest is black, appearance is very much like the 
male, wattles not developed, base of bill reddish, abdomen is brown, 
legs are a horn-blue. 

Nocturnal Curassow, often referred to as the Flat-crested or Urumutum 
Curassow 
Nothocrax urumutum 

Range : amazonian Ecuador and Peru to Rio Negro region of 
Brazil, possibly to British Guiana. 

Male ; 24 inches in length, smallest of the Curassows, chestnut- 
brown body with a straight black crest, the tail is tipped with buff, the 


26 


JACK L. THROP-THE CURASSOWS 


bill is red, the skin about the eye is yellow and green above the eye and 
bluish below, the legs are flesh coloured. 

Female ; is more coarsely mottled with pale rufous-buff on a darker 
ground. 

Greater Razor-billed Curassow 

Mitu mitu 

Range : the part of the Guianan-Amazon forest region from 
eastern Peru, to Para, Brazil. 

Male ; brown eye, straight crest, black plumage with a blue 
reflection, feathers of the back have a scalloped effect, abdomen is 
chestnut-brown, the bill is raised to a sharp ridge, with no wattles or 
cere, entire beak is a bright orange-red, legs are red, white tipped tail. 
The sexes are coloured alike, the males are slightly larger. It is said 
that there is some difference in eye colour, the males eyes brown, the 
females red-brown, this difference is very remote. 

Lesser Razor-billed Curassow 

Mitu tomentosa 

Range : British and Dutch Guiana, upper Orinoco region of 
Venezuela, Rio Blanco and Rio Negro of Brazil. 

Male ; body black with a bluish reflection, tail feathers tipped with 
dark chestnut, the legs and eyes are reddish, the crest is very short, the 
bill plum-coloured and not highly arched like the Greater Razor-billed, 
sexes are apparently coloured alike. 

Salvin’s Razor-billed Curassow 

Mitu salvini 

Range : known only from the tropical zone of eastern Ecuador. 

Male ; may be readily distinguished from the other two Mitu by the 
abdomen, under tail coverts and tip of the tail feathers being white. 
Galeated Curassow 

Pauxi pauxi 

Range : known definitely only from Venezuela. 

Male ; the body is black glossed with green, the abdomen, under tail- 
coverts and the tip of the tail feathers are white. The legs are rose- 
coloured, the beak is reddish, the eyes are dark brown, the distinguishing 
feature is a large egg-shaped casque on the upper mandible. This is 
plum-coloured (slate blue) and very delicately shaded. 

Female ; differs in being browner, the back and wing coverts are 
chestnut barred with black and buff. 

Gilliard’s Galeated Curassow 

Pauxi pauxi gilliardi 

Range : region of Alto Rio Negro of Venezuela, in Colombia in the 
Sierra Negro, Sierra de Perija state of Magdalena. 

The Curassows originally received their name due to the mistaken 
idea that they came from the island of Curacao in the Caribbean. 



JACK L. THROP-THE CURASSOWS 


127 


Their discovery actually took place on the mainland and undoubtedly 
in an Indian village where they strolled among the huts, skirting around 
groups of native women grinding meal or stepping out of the way of 
running naked children. Indians have always sought the nests of the 
arboreal dwelling Gurassow and raise the young by hand. The Indians, 
of course, have a final object in mind when they assume the task of hand 
rearing a Gurassow, the flesh is delicious. Friendly tame birds, Curassows 
make fine camp-mates. Curassows thrive in confinement but the hopes 
once held by the Spanish for their domestication ended in disappoint¬ 
ment. They are poor breeders in confinement. 

As far as records show, and these are largely from E. Hopkinson’s 
“ Birds Bred in Captivity ”, the Great Crested Gurassow was the first 
to be bred. This was in Marseilles in 1825 by the Marquis de Montgard 
as recorded in Le Bulletin de la Societe Nationale de France , 1854, 
page 123. In the 1893 volume another French success is stated, 
page 349, that of Le Grange in 1888 and 1892. They were also bred in 
the London Zoo in 1910. I believe that this was the instance told by 
the author Frank Finn in which he says that a Globose Curassow cock 
(Great Crested) was devoted to a hen of the handsome zebra-marked 
aberrational type described as Crax hecki, preferring her to three normal 
coloured hens. One chick was hatched, a female, a typical globicera 
{rubra). This was then believed to be a hybrid hatching but hecki is 
no longer considered distinct from rubra. 

The first Curassow to be reared in the United States was in 1913 ; a 
Mrs. Thompson of New York raised a Great Crested from two eggs. 
The eggs were taken away and a young one reared under a chicken— 
Crandall, New York Zoological Society Bulletin 1917, page 1449. 
Crandall also noted that an earlier American record (Gould 1909) 
cannot stand as the young were not fully reared. A little later the 
New York Zoological Society had a success of its own as reported by 
the current Director of that zoo, William G. Conway. “ On June 1, 
1909, the Zoological Park received from Buenos Aires a Banded 
Curassow, Craxfasciolata. The subspecies was not distinguished and at 
this time of course we cannot be sure. Later on, September 20, 1915, 
the zoo received still another curassow. The first bird had been a 
female ; this last specimen was a male of the same species and it came 
from Maracaibo. These two specimens bred in 1918. An egg was 
placed under a broody and a young one was hatched and reared with¬ 
out incident. I am afraid I have very little more in the way of details 
except that the young was reared by the foster parent. The young 
bird died in 1923.” 

A recent report of a successful breeding of both curassows and guans 
appeared in the July-August 1956 issue of the Avicultural Magazine 
by J. Carpentier, curator of birds of the Royal Zoological Society, 
Antwerp, Belgium. Further reference will be made to this fine article. 


128 


JACK L. THROP-THE GURASSOWS 


In the same year a Mr. Grant Rothhammer of Melrose, Florida, 
raised a Crested Curassow. A letter from Mr. Rothhammer tells of 
the event. “ During 1956 I produced three Curassow eggs in my pens 
from birds that I had owned for five years. I had produced two eggs 
the previous year but they were not fertile. I placed the eggs in a hot 
water incubator, one hatched. I was about as surprised at his hatching 
as he was at being hatched. I put it with a bantam hen in a 4 ft. by 8 ft., 
6 ft. high, J-in. wire pen. The baby was the wildest, toughest baby 
I ever raised, no end to how wild and how scary. Yet I never saw a 
baby so fond of its mother. At half grown when I finally moved it 
from the bantam it grieved an awful lot. Now this baby was extra 
hardy, never seemed to have a weak moment. It was tough and ready 
to go before it got dry. I never saw anything so hardy and it seemed 
extra large to come from that size egg. And it grew extra fast, much 
faster than peafowl or turkey and matured better as it went without 
being wing heavy like lots of birds.” 

I am sure that more people have reared Curassows in this country 
but locating just who has and when is very difficult information to come 
by. The conclusion must be drawn that Curassows are seldom raised in 
captivity. Like every bird that we keep in our aviaries there is a reason 
or reasons or group of circumstances responsible for their failure to 
reproduce in captivity. In regard to the Curassow, Mr. Conway has 
put forth these reasons, “ It is my experience that very few females of 
those species which have different coloured females are imported. 
Then too, I don’t think many people have made an effort to breed 
Curassows ”. This is probably quite true but surprising for I have 
found the Curassows to be the most interesting of all gallinaceous birds 
to care for and they are not difficult to raise if one bothers to accom¬ 
modate them. The bother has been, for me, a pleasure. 

In 1957 I was curator for the Buteyn Bird Ranch in San Luis Rey, 
California, where I first had the pleasure of working with these birds. 
Mr. Buteyn bought a pair of Red Wattled Curassows, Crax blumenbachii , 
from a dealer in Florida. Three months later we purchased a pair of 
Greater Razor-billed Curassows, Mitu mitu. It took a year of observa¬ 
tion to decide that we had two males instead of a pair of the latter. 
A trade with Bernard Roer of Phoenix, Arizona, who had also bought a 
pair of Greater Razor-bills and found them to be two females, turned 
out profitably for us both. The Red Wattled hen laid in 1958 and 
I raised two males under bantams. These were sold to the San Diego 
Zoo. In the ensuing years through 1961 I raised eight Red Wattled 
Curassows and six Razor-billed Curassows. 

Bernard Roer, in 1957, acquired a male Red Wattled Curassow but 
when he tried to find a mate for him he was sent a female Prince 
Albert’s Curassow, Crax a. alberti. He raised eight hybrids from this pair 
in 1958, four in 1959, two in i960. In 1961 he raised six Red Wattled 



JACK L. THROP-THE GURASSOWS 


129 


babies from a purchased blumenbachii hen mated to the original male. 
He also had a Razor-bill chick but it was killed by an accident when it 
was only a few days old. Mr. Buteyn reared four fine Razor-bills in 

I 9 62 - 

The total reared to maturity by Bernard Roer and myself is thirty- 
four curassows. I believe this is a larger number from which to base 
collective information than anybody has previously had. 

Climate may certainly be a factor in rearing Curassows. Though 
there is little similarity between Phoenix, Arizona and southern 
California in climate, the winters in both states seldom drop below 
freezing. Curassows are fair weather birds. The curator of Birds at the 
Philadelphia Zoo, John A. Griswald, has written, “ it is generally 
accepted that the feet of the Cracidae are quite susceptible to frost-bite 
in our climate ”. The Pittsburg Zoo found that they are not at all hardy 
to cold and soon become crippled with rheumatic or arthritic condi¬ 
tions, malformed toes, etc. Delacour once wrote that they have a 
serious drawback, being very susceptible to cold, never bearing much 
frost without losing their toes. 

During the 1962-63 winter Phoenix experienced a temperature low 
of 25 degrees. Roer had several Red Wattled Curassows at complete 
liberty and therefore able to choose the most protected roosting sites 
available and still two of the birds had toes injured by frostbite. 
Weather severe as this is not at all general in southern Arizona or 
California so housing is seldom used for gallinaceous birds. Climates 
subject to freezing weather must provide heated quarters. 

Curassows like to be off the ground. Generally for the few that are 
seen in collections no provision is given for this arboreal preference to 
manifest itself. Curassows are often treated as though they were 
pheasants. If the birds are given ample branches to climb and perch 
upon they will spend nearly half of the daylight hours above ground. 
In the natural state curassows prefer heavy growth. Scutch says that 
they come into the clearings very seldom. 

Nesting by Curassows in nature is done in the trees. An open tub or 
half barrel in the highest convenient place in the aviary will be readily 
accepted by the pair. Lewis W. Walker of the Arizona-Sonora Desert 
Museum at Tucson had a pair of the Roer hybrids in a large aviary. 
The birds chose a nest site in a large Palo Verde tree. They would 
walk out to the ends of the heavy branches, break off the smaller ones, 
and carry them to the centre of the tree where they built a platform 
nest in a fork. The male aided in the construction. It is advisable to 
create ample shade for the nesting receptacle. Curassows like to feel 
that the nest is secluded and at least partially concealed. 

Because of their climbing ability they are not indefinitely kept in 
anything but an enclosed aviary. Birds with clipped or pinioned wings, 
like peafowl, are still powerful jumpers and difficult to keep in an open 


130 


JACK L. THROP-THE CURASSOWS 


pen. Also in clipping the wing, considering that Gurassows love to be 
above ground, the danger of a broken leg is threatened. 

As release birds they do well on areas where many trees are available, 
such as an orchard. Birds released in their first year stay close to their 
home and the food. As they mature unmated males will wander and 
must be eventually confined. A mated pair at Roers stayed steadily but 
didn’t reproduce. The female took great interest in a nest-box provided 
but failed to lay. As the spring wore on she began to stray in increas¬ 
ingly wider circles until it was necessary to pen her. An adult male can 
be a dangerous animal and so is not generally kept in a free state about 
public places. Marvin C. Cecil, curator at the Caribbean Gardens in 
Florida, says that nearly all of the birds roam free in the Gardens. 
Gurassows were tried but one soon injured a little boy that attempted to 
feed the bird and they were traded off for more congenial fare. A large 
Great Crested Curassow male once owned by Ernest Crowell would 
make repeated attacks on a person and could only be repelled by 
vigorous force. He seemed not ready to give up until exhausted. 
A male Razor-billed Curassow at Buteyn’s would attack only if your 
back was turned but this he would do with regularity. Males will also 
attack other large birds such as peafowl, and we have known them to 
challenge even Rheas. The females do not become aggressive. They 
are safe with other birds. We have placed Curassow young of various 
ages and species with their bantam hens in an aviary occupied by an 
adult hen. She accepted them with friendly interest. 

This same show of temperament is often bent upon their mates. 
The Great Crested already mentioned nearly killed his female several 
times. After watching a display of this male’s malice towards the hen it 
seemed remarkable that she ever laid fertile eggs, which she did with 
regularity. This aggressiveness expressed by some males is certainly a 
factor to be considered in keeping Gurassows but it should not be 
construed as universal behaviour. The three breeding pairs kept at 
Buteyn’s were certainly affable birds and completely desirable aviary 
mates. Owing to the aggressiveness of the cocks we believe that the 
small groups found in the wild are family groups, the male, the female, 
and one or two offspring. 

Curassows mature in their second year. First year birds resemble 
adults but are smaller in stature and weight. We had a female 
blumenbachii lay in her first year, the eggs were not fertile. Her com¬ 
panion male was of the same age. If she had mated with an older male 
the eggs might have been fertilized. We have made no effort to breed 
young birds. It seems advisable to wait until full growth is obtained and 
this is in the second year. 

Curassows lay two eggs to a clutch. Only once have I had a clutch 
of three eggs. They are usually laid two days apart. If the eggs are 
removed the hen will lay again in about twenty days. Roer had a 




JACK L. THROP-THE CURASSOWS 


!3 


Red Wattled hen lay fourteen eggs during the nesting season. A Red 
Wattled hen at Buteyn’s laid twelve. The average, when the eggs are 
removed, seems to be about four clutches per pair. I found in looking 
back over records that seven eggs per pair occurred a few times. This 
was caused by a hen laying a one-egg clutch, generally late in the 
season. The Red Wattled Curassow began laying on 7th February in 
1961 at Buteyn’s, the Razor-billed on 24th February. Curassow eggs 
are large for the size of the bird. The shell has a rough granular 
texture, white in colour. I have never had one deliberately break an 
egg, although Rothhammer says that his pair ate many a pheasant and 
duck egg. 

I used bantam hens to incubate the eggs. Twice each day I would 
turn the eggs for her ; I have never trusted a bantam to be able to turn 
such a large egg effectively. Roer prefers a turkey hen to incubate 
Curassow eggs. He believes that he gets better results but a turkey hen 
is inclined to kill the chicks when they hatch so he removes the eggs a 
day before hatching and puts them in an incubator. After the chick 
hatches he puts it under a bantam for her to rear. The chicks seem to 
want a mother and it is felt that they would do badly in a brooder 
without a hen. 

If the eggs are left in the nest only the female Curassow does the 
incubating. The male stays nearby or as one author said, even on the 
nest itself. They are good brooders in captivity generally. 

The chick hatches on the 29th day. This was invariably the period 
of incubation for every chick hatched by Roer or myself. In Carpentier’s 
article on breeding curassows in the July-August, 1956, Avicultural 
Magazine he states that the incubation for a pair of Razor-bills was 
twenty-two days. But in the additional data at the end of the article 
he says that the second egg was laid on the 10th July and that young 
were seen on 10th August. Twenty-two days must certainly be a 
miscalculation. One account that I found said that the Nocturnal 
Curassow had an incubation of twenty-four days and another that the 
Galeated Curassow was from thirty-four to thirty-six days. Of the four 
species that we reared, Red Wattled, Great Crested, Prince Albert’s, 
and the Greater Razor-billed, twenty-nine days was the period required 
for development. 

The chick hatches immediately after pipping the egg. There is no 
delay for rest or to build up strength. Roer said that it was a long time 
before he actually caught an egg just pipped. The eggs would either 
be whole or the chick would be out drying off. The chicks have a very 
heavy down. In the one chick that was raised by its parents we noted 
good reason for the thick down. The chick was brooded by the hen 
for the first two nights in the nest and then the chick roosted inde¬ 
pendently of its mother. Coming to her at dawn to be brooded and 
loved and fed, but sleeping by itself at night. Incubating the eggs with 


32 


JACK L. THROP-THE CURASSOWS 


bantams presented few problems. A hen was given the two eggs and 
they were faithfully turned twice daily. On the twenty-ninth day a box 
with a screen top was placed over the hen’s nesting box to keep the 
chicks from wandering. The Curassow chick is hatched strong and will 
more than likely be on the hen’s back in a few hours. I tested day- 
old chicks ability to perch and climb. They possessed a fair sense of 
balance and if placed on a branch were generally able to stay there, but 
not one of the day-olds was able to grip with the feet strongly enough 
to retain its position under slight duress. On the second day they are 
much surer. On the third they are full of confidence and ability to 
scramble along any perch. The wings of the newly-hatched young 
have distinct flight feathers which grow very rapidly. 

A high percentage of curassows in captivity have crooked toes, most 
of these are imported birds. The first Razor-billed Curassow that 
I reared developed such badly deformed feet that it was necessary to 
destroy it. At the outset it was believed that the cause was dietary since 
we understand only the rudimentary needs of Curassow diet. But with 
an analysis of the situation it was apparent that this was an external 
problem rather than internal neglect. Curassows are taken from the 
nest or captured as young birds by the South or Central American 
natives and reared in the villages as “ ground dwelling birds ”. The 
chicks have little opportunity to flex the toes in climbing and perching. 
We corrected this detail and from the time our Curassow chicks were 
put in the rearing boxes with their bantam mothers they had perches. 
As they grew a greater variety of sizes of perches were available to them. 
Not a case of crooked toes has been experienced since our first experi¬ 
ments in Curassow culture. This same practice has since been applied to 
various gallinaceous birds with gratifying success. It is particularly 
effective with Green Peafowl, Ceylon Jungle Fowl and other pheasants 
that seem prone to crooked toes. 

Curassows are extremely hardy and resistant to almost anything but 
frost. We lost very few chicks, and these losses were due to colds and 
coccidiosis. They are strong at birth, grow rapidly and are generally 
active and personable birds throughout their lives. Their longevity is 
unknown, Roer has a female Prince Albert’s that has been in his 
collection nearly twenty years and still lays fertile eggs. 

No great problems are met with as concerns food. Curassows do very 
well on a game-bird ration with a little soft fruit added. The chicks are 
fed a game-bird starter mash with hard boiled egg yolk sprinkled over 
the top. They feed readily. Early accounts led us to believe that rearing 
Curassows would present many difficulties. It was said that the chicks 
required insect food, that they would not feed from the ground, that 
the parents fed the young from her beak for the first ten weeks and that 
they were not completely independent for some time after that. This 
has not been our experience at all. Mr. J. Carpentier’s article in the 


CHARLES EVERITT-BREEDING THE RED-WINGED STARLING 1 33 


July-August, 1956, Avicultural Magazine is an authoritative 
description of nesting and parental care of Gurassows and well worth 
re-reading. 

The Red Wattled’s display is the only Curassow display that I have 
seen. It is probably typical of most species. The crest, which is the 
most striking development of the bird, is not used in the mating 
display. It is used instead in moments of nervousness, aggression, or 
inquisitiveness, and its use is very expressive, but it seems not an 
adornment to attract a mate. During the display the male lays his 
head back on his shoulders in an awkward manner. The tail is raised 
so that the showy white under tail-coverts are conspicuous and a 
circling trot around the female is made over and over again. The effect 
is lost on most observers but fortunately not on blumenhachii hens. 

In conclusion, Gurassows are not difficult to breed or to rear, they 
are generally quite tame and possess marvellous personalities. They 
seem to be at their best exhibited in an aviary that provides ample 
climbing room and the opportunity to nest off the ground. 

* * * 

BREEDING THE RED-WINGED STARLING 

By Charles Everett (Trenton, N. J., U.S.A.) 

It was in December, 1959, that Mr. Boehm received a pair of Red¬ 
winged Starlings from England, originally coming from Basutoland, 
South Africa. There are five races of these birds, the nominate one, 
Onychognathus morio mono , was the species we received. Its habitat 
extends from Nyasaland, through Portuguese East Africa, down into 
South Africa. One sub-species, 0 . m. ruppellii , synonymous with O.m. 
shelleyi , ranges through the Sudan, Ethiopia, and Tanganyika. 
A second, found in northern Nigeria and the north Cameroons, is 
O.m. neymanni and a western race, O.m. modicus, inhabits the Upper 
Guinea area, and the race, 0 . m. montanus, is a highland bird found at 
elevations up to 9,000 feet on Mt. Elgon in Kenya. They are all very 
similar in general colouring, the main variations consisting of body size 
(the entire race varying from 10J to 14 inches in total length), and the 
shape and length of the bill. 

The nominate race, which was housed at the Boehm Aviaries, is 
about 11 inches in length. The sexes are dissimilar, the adult male 
being glossy violet-black above, with greenish ear-coverts. The 
primaries are chestnut-red with black tips and the under-parts are 
glossy blue-black. The long, slender bill is black, as are the legs and 
feet. The iris is brown with a red outer rim. The adult female’s head 
and neck are grey, with violet and blue-black streaks. The upper chest 


134 CHARLES EVERITT-BREEDING THE RED-WINGED STARLING 

also is grey, streaked with blue-black, these markings being much 
broader than those on the head and neck. All other colouring is the 
same as in the male. 

After being kept in one of the reception pens for the winter months, 
the pair was released in April, i960, into a large planted aviary, 
60 by 40 feet, the only aviary on the establishment completely open to 
the weather, and unheated. This they shared with numerous other 
birds, four species of Touracos, Black-headed Sibias, Mesias, Pekin 
Robins, Jay Thrushes, Cocks of the Rock, Blackbirds, etc. all agreeing 
very well. In order to provide an element of protection, a pane of glass 
was removed from the window of one of the reception pens abutting 
on to this aviary, so that any of the birds seeking shelter could return to 
it. Many chose to do so and feed pans were maintained in there 
throughout the year. This proved a great asset when it came to 
catching the birds up for return to winter quarters, for they could be 
trapped in there and transferred to their various allotted pens. 

However, it was not until 1962, their third return to the aviary, that 
the Red-winged Starlings made any attempt to go to nest. Up to then 
they had, in their customary manner, been most sociable towards all 
the other birds, and were quite entertaining with their melancholy call. 
This consisted of a piping whistle, either in single notes or a variety of 
phrases, both birds giving vent to it, although that of the male was 
slightly stronger, and the phrases of notes more extended. Towards the 
end of March that year the female attempted to build a nest on the top 
of one of the perch “ trees” in the retiring rooms. Realising that the 
small area, about 4 inches in diameter, was totally inadequate, we 
secured a 9 inch square open box with 4 inch sides on top of the 
“ tree ”. With the male assisting in collecting material, the female soon 
completed a nest of twigs, bound with mud, and lined with soft grasses. 
It was largish, almost completely filling the nest-box. A solitary egg, 
bluish-green in general colour but with rufous spots and blotches, and 
measuring 33 by 25 mm., was laid, but it disappeared two days later, 
and the birds took no further interest in the nest. 

In May, the female began building in an open-fronted nest-box out 
in the aviary. As before, only one egg was laid, which duly hatched on 
7th June, after a fourteen day incubation, carried out by the female 
only. Now their sociable manner changed, and the male became most 
possessive of the area in the vicinity of the nest. Not only did he keep 
the other birds at a safe distance, but he also made swooping attacks 
on any of us if we approached too near for his liking. It made no 
difference if we had live-food with us, particularly for him and his 
family, for he kept up his attacks until we had deposited the food in his 
special tray and retired to a respectable distance. As in the case of the 
Derby Flycatcher the previous year, it became the order of the day to wear 
some form of headgear when making the regular hourly excursions with 



CHARLES EVERITT BREEDING THE RED-WINGED STARLING 1 35 


live-food. Despite all this, success was not to be ours for, on 18th June, 
the nestling was found dead on the ground immediately below the nest- 
box. It was quite large, with a fair amount of feathering on the wings, 
although the body was bare, and it could only be surmised that it had 
fallen out, for it was well nourished and did not give the appearance 
of having died in the nest. Thus closed the 1962 season so far as this 
species was concerned and, after another winter inside, the pair were 
returned to the same aviary in April, 1963. 

Late in June last year they began bringing nesting material back into 
the room so the nesting tray was again secured to the “ tree ”. The 
female lost no time getting her nest completed and, on 2nd July, laid 
the first of three eggs. Incubation began with the laying of the first, and 
they hatched on the 16th, 17th, and 18th. The nestlings were pink¬ 
skinned, sparsely covered with a black fuzz, and had gapes of bright 
pink. Both parents attended to the rearing and, being in the room, it 
was much easier to ensure that the live-food supplied was consumed 
solely by them. Further, although protesting orally when we entered 
the room, it was possible, with a degree of craft, to follow the develop¬ 
ment of the chicks. At seven days old their eyes were open and quill 
feathers were visible in their wings. Although the last to be hatched 
was found dead in the nest at eleven days old, the other two finally 
vacated the nest, fully feathered, at twenty-two and twenty-five days 
old respectively. 

They were sooty-black with a slight sheen, one more apparent than 
the other, and they both possessed the chestnut-red primaries of the 
adult birds. Full independence was attained at thirty-four days by both 
fledglings and, shortly after this they had to be removed as the male 
began chasing them around. The reason for this quickly became 
apparent for the female went to nest again, and laid three more eggs as 
before, of which but two hatched, the other being clear. 

By the time the first brood was five months old, grey feathering began 
to show in the head of the duller one. This indicated that the fledgling 
degree of sheen might well be a sex characteristic. This point was 
further borne out by the second brood for both these fledglings were of 
the duller tone, and eventually turned out to be females. 

The first brood birds have since been presented to the Cleveland 
Zoo, the two younger females being retained for future breeding. 
Mr. Boehm also has one odd adult male so, space permitting, it is 
planned to pair this to one of the young females with a hope of breeding 
to the third generation. At the present time all three birds are together, 
the parent birds being located elsewhere, so that the untried male has 
the opportunity of himself selecting his future mate. 


136 JOSEPH M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 

THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 

By Joseph M. Forshaw (Canberra, Australia) 

[Continued from Vol. 70, No. 2, page 68) 

8 . The Mulga Parrot 
[Psephotus varius) 

From a specimen reportedly collected at Spencers Gulf in 1802, 
Kuhl described the Mulga Parrot as Psittacus multicolor in 1820. The 
original manuscript mentioning this bird was reputed to be the work 
of Brown, who probably collected the type specimen, but Clark (1910) 
subsequently rejected this and attributed it to Temminck. With the 
introduction of the genus Psephotus , the scientific name for the species 
became Psephotus multicolor and so remained for many years. In 1910 
Clark drew attention to the previous use of this name for the Rainbow 
Lorikeet by Gmelin in 1788. Although this name was later invalidated 
by taxonomists, it did constitute a case of preoccupied nomenclature 
and the new specific name of varius, put forward by Clark, became valid. 

The early scientific name, and the common vernacular name of 
Many-coloured Parrot are both very apt because this bird affords the 
observer a showy combination of colours in its brilliant plumage. 
Green predominates in the adult male. The back, scapulars and upper 
secondaries are bluish-green, while the head and breast are bright 
emerald-green. Yellow is exhibited on the forehead and the humeral 
patch. There is a cinnamon-red patch on the top of the head. The 
upper abdomen and flanks are yellowish-green and this is in strong 
contrast to the lower abdomen and thighs, which are deep scarlet 
intermixed with yellow. The vent and under tail-coverts are yellow 
tinged with red. The wing primaries are brilliant ultramarine on the 
outer edges and offset by a brownish-black on the inner edges and tips. 
This colour is also found on the undersides of the wings. Light bluish- 
green is found on the rump and upper tail-coverts, which are marked 
with an ill-defined yellowish-green band. This band is bordered by a 
dark bluish-green line near the back and a dull reddish line towards the 
tail. The tail is similar to that of the other broadtails. Dark green 
with washings of dark blue characterize the upper surface of the central 
feathers, while the under surface is darkish brown. The secondary 
feathers show the upper surface bright blue becoming very pale 
towards the tips, which are white. The under surface of the secondary 
feathers is very pale blue. The bill is greyish-black, the iris dark brown, 
and the feet grey. The adult female differs markedly from its showy 
mate in having the upper parts and the breast dusky-brown tinged with 
green. The yellow is absent from the forehead and is replaced by brick 
red on the humeral patch. The abdomen and under tail-coverts are 
very pale green. The bill is greyish-black, the iris dark brown, and the 


JOSEPH M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 137 

feet grey. It is a sleek small parrot as illustrated by the following 
information, which was compiled by the author :— 


ADULT MALE 


Total length 

Wingspan. 

Wing. 

Tail. 

Culmen. Tarsus. 

Bill. 

Iris. 

Feet. 

ins. 

12*25 

ins. 

16-5 

ins. 

5'5 

ins. 

6-6 

ins. ins. 

0-51 0-51 

Grey with 
black tips. 

Dark 

brown 

Grey 




ADULT FEMALE 




11 "9 

16-25 

5*25 

6*45 

0-5 0-51 

Grey with 
black tips 

Dark 

brown 

Grey 




IMMATURE MALE 




11-85 

15-48 

5-05 

6-1 

0-5 0-51 

Grey with 
black tips 

Dark 

brown 

Grey 


The adult male was collected at Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, on 
6th March, 1963, the adult female at Cocklebiddy, W.A., on 5th March, 
and the immature male at Penong, South Australia, on 4th March. 


Systematic Discussion 

Mathews (1917), on comparing this species with Ps. haematonotus , 
noticed several differences between the birds. The Mulga Parrot had a 
more projecting bill with a more pointed tip, while the tail was pro¬ 
portionately longer, well exceeding the length of the wing. The wing, 
although of a similar pattern, was also noticeably longer. These 
distinctions, together with the colour pattern, gave rise to the tabulation 
of the subgenus Clarkona. There are no valid features upholding this 
subgenus and, apart from a mention by Richmond (1927), it has been 
generally neglected by recent authorities. 

The invalidity of multicolor did not escape Mathews and, in 1911, 
unaware of Clark’s rearrangement, he instituted dulciei as a replacement. 
However, varius was accepted by all and has subsequently enjoyed 
widespread recognition. 

Psephotus varius varius , the typical race, is found in the Yorke and 
Eyre’s Peninsula area of South Australia. It was in this district that 
Mathews believed that the type specimen was collected. 

From a bird taken on Yorke Peninsula, South Australia, Mathews, 
in 1912, described Psephotus varius rosinae. This race was reported to 
differ from the typical bird in having much less red on the abdomen 
and deeper green on the upper breast. 

In 1912 Mathews instituted yet another subspecies in Psephotus 
varius exsul from a specimen collected at Mount Magnet, Western 
Australia. The distinguishing feature was its generally bluer colora¬ 
tion, especially noticeable on the cheeks. Following examination of 
skins from Mid-Western Australia, which is the tabulated range of this 
bird, the author believes the distinguishing feature to be inconsistent 
and not valid as the basis for a different race. 


138 


JOSEPH M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 


S. A. White collected an adult male in the Macdonnell Ranges, 
Central Australia in 1913 and subsequent examination of the bird by 
Mathews resulted in the establishment of Psephotus varius ethelae in 1917. 
The range was given as Central Australia. The paler general colora¬ 
tion and the reduced paler red on the abdomens of the males were 
given as the marks of this variation. North (1911-12) and White (1915), 
when treating the birds of this region remarked about the fact that some 
male birds possessed varying amounts of brick red on the humeral 
patches. This interesting observation has been analysed by many 
recent authorities and will be discussed later in this paper. 

The birds from south-western Queensland, the interior of New South 
Wales, the mallee areas of Victoria and eastern South Australia, after 
examination of a specimen from Underbool, N.S.W., were reported by 
Mathews to differ from the typical subspecies in their generally brighter 
coloration and in the males having a very red abdominal patch. 
Therefore, in 1917, he described Psephotus varius orientalis with the range 
as given above. 

Many ornithologists have discussed the individual variation found 
with this species, but few have examined it as a critical analysis of the 
validity of the described subspecies. North (1911) gives a full account of 
the plumage variation observed in individual birds. The colour of the 
upper parts and of the abdomen is quite variable in the females. 
However, variation in the plumage of the males is of more value when 
the above races are considered. Of two males shot together by North 
at Woodside near Coonamble, N.S.W., in 1905, one had the under tail- 
coverts dull yellow, the other had them washed with dull red markings. 
Another specimen collected in the same locality had them washed with 
green, a pattern exhibited by many immature birds. One immature 
male examined by the same authority had some of the golden-yellow 
feathers of the frontal and humeral patches washed with brick red, 
while the red markings on the upper tail-coverts differed in pattern 
from the other birds. The red in the humeral patches was also noted 
by White (1915), when he observed birds in Central Australia. He 
remarked that the patch on the median wing-coverts was brick red on 
several male birds and the type of Ps. varius ethelae collected by him was 
one of these examples. 

Cain (1955) examined specimen AMNH No. 623365, which was 
collected by White at the Officer River west of the Everard Ranges. 
The bird had every indication of a male, which it was marked as being, 
but had dull brick-red shoulder patches as in the female. They were 
reported to be more extensive and definite than those shown by other 
specimens, which had red markings throughout the normal yellow. 
The conclusion reached was that this bird must be regarded as an 
individual variation. 

Peters (1937) recognized only one race of the Mulga Parrot and 










Avicult. Mag. 



Copyright ] [ J . M . Forshaw 

Skins of Birds Collected from Related Localities in New 
South Wales : Note the Varying Amounts of Red on the 

Abdomens. 



Copyright ] [ J . M . Forshaw 

Skins of Birds Collected in Distantly Separated Localities : 
Note Similar Amounts of Red on the Abdomens. 

[To facep . 139 






JOSEPH M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 


139 


Cain (1955) followed his example, but drew attention to the fact that 
eastern birds, as represented by orientalis, did tend to be much richer in 
their plumage colours, especially the red on the abdomen. Condon 
(1941) incorporated rosinae into the typical race, and used the lack of 
sufficient material as grounds for the retention of exsul and ethelae , 
although their validity was doubtful to him. At the same time he 
admitted that there was much individual variation with the species, 
but for some unknown reason did not take this into consideration. 
Later (1962) he again dismissed rosinae and recognized orientalis , but 
made no mention of the remaining subspecies. 

Reports on the plumage of the races have been inconsistent and 
this has not assisted in the evaluation of the recorded differences. 
Mathews, when describing Ps. varius exsul , stated that the birds of 
Western Australia were of a lighter blue-green colour compared to the 
typical race. However, White (1921) contradicted this, recording these 
birds as being slightly deeper and darker in the green coloration. 
Similar treatment has been accorded to the red on the abdomen of the 
males. This marking has been the distinguishing feature of the races. 
The accompanying photographs show two small groups of reference 
skins and close examination of these will illustrate the individual 
variation present. Five specimens from New South Wales have varying 
amounts of scarlet on the lower underparts, while four birds from 
distantly separated localities in New South Wales, South Australia, and 
Central Australia show approximately the same amount of red. It is 
possible to form similar groups with any collection of skins. The con¬ 
clusion to be drawn from these facts is that, although the eastern birds 
do tend to be more brilliant than the birds of the interior and western 
regions, the individual variation throughout the range reduces the 
importance of this as a subspecific criterion. In the author’s opinion the 
arrangement suggested by Peters, that is the rejection of all races of 
Psephotus varius , is correct and should be universally adopted. 


General Discussion 

A very extensive distribution is enjoyed by the Mulga Parrot, which 
is found in the interior region of the southern part of the Australian 
continent. This includes south-western Queensland, western New 
South Wales, north-western Victoria, most of South Australia and 
southern Northern Territory, and Western Australia, north to the 
Onslow area. Lack of reported observations renders the northern limits 
of the range in Eastern Australia uncertain. 

Although found in most of the inland areas, Psephotus varius is never 
observed in large numbers, a fact in marked contrast to the habits of its 
nearest relative, the Red-backed Parrot. When these two birds inhabit 
the same area the former frequents the drier country, while the latter is 


140 


JOSEPH M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 





Distribution of Psephotus varius. 


found along the creeks and watercourses. This habitat preference, of 
course, assists in the extended range of varius. 

Usually encountered within the sparsely-timbered forest, Mallee, or 
the stands of stunted Mulga, this exquisite parrot charms the observer 
as the pairs or small parties forage on the ground for grass seeds. The 
brilliance of the male’s plumage stands out against what is often a 
desolate setting, and makes recognition in the field very simple indeed. 
However, the sombre colours of the female give her protection by 
making detection more difficult. The birds are generally observed 
feeding on the ground in the shade of a tree or by an outback roadside. 
At the approach of danger they fly to a nearby tree and await its passing 
before returning to feed. If further disturbed they generally seek 
shelter and seclusion in another area. 

In spite of strong undulation, the flight is surprisingly swift. The 
undulation and the fact that the wings are left extended between beats 




JOSEPH M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 141 

gives a fluttering effect while the bird is in the air. This distinctive 
flight further aids identification as it does not resemble the flight of any 
other parrot found within the range of the species. As with the other 
broadtails the tail is fanned when alighting. The impressive contrast 
provided by the bright green of the body and the brilliant blue of the 
wing primaries is displayed to perfection when in flight. 

The call of the Mulga Parrot is a soft whistle note uttered in quick 
succession. It differs strongly from the call of Psephotus haematonotus . 
This call is generally employed while the bird is on the wing. On rare 
occasions a soft chattering is emitted while feeding. 

Seeds of grasses, shrubs, and herbaceous plants form the main con¬ 
stituent of its diet. White (1921) observed the birds feeding on the 
seeds of the Mulga (. Acacia aneura) in Central Australia and Sedgewick 
(1952) reported the birds eating the developed, but unripe pods, of 
Acacia tetragonophylla , together with the seeds of Loranthus murrayi , a 
parasitic plant on the Mulga. A detailed report on the crop and stomach 
contents of a number of specimens was furnished by Lea and Gray in 
1935. Two specimens from Tarcoola, South Australia, gave small seeds, 
seeds of the Ruby Salt-bush ( Enchylaena tomentosa ) and Mouse-ear 
Chickweed ( Cerastium glomeratum ), pieces of charcoal and small quanti¬ 
ties of sand. Another bird from Nackara, South Australia, contained 
vegetable matter and pieces of charcoal, while small seeds, pieces of 
charcoal and grit were found in the crop of a specimen from Port 
Vincent, South Australia. Another bird from Renmark, South 
Australia, had its stomach full of small black seeds of a Caryllophyl- 
laceae , and small seeds were found in the crops of specimens collected at 
Renmark, Ooldea, and Mannum, South Australia, and Macdonald 
Downs, Central Australia. The crop contents of the birds collected by 
the author for measurements consisted of small grass seeds, seeds of 
Saltbush ( Atriplex vesicarum), vegetable matter, small pieces of charcoal, 
and sand. Two interesting conclusions may be made following a close 
examination of these feeding records. These are the large quantities of 
seeds and fruits of Acacias and other trees and shrubs that are consumed, 
and the presence of pieces of charcoal in nearly all the crop samples. 
It is quite apparent that this species eats large amounts of fruits and 
berries from inland trees and shrubs and this is in direct contrast to the 
recorded feeding habits of Ps. haematonotus. In March, 1963, the author 
observed a male bird taking charcoal from a charred tree stump near 
Balladonia, Western Australia. The bird slowly walked around the 
stump removing small pieces of charcoal from the base. 

A close look at the types of vegetation existing in the areas of distribu¬ 
tion may assist in the appreciation of the above described feeding notes. 
The wheat belt areas of southern-western Australia and the eastern 
states provide abundant feed in the form of grain and grass seeds, a 
plentiful supply of which is always available. The birds have been seen 


142 


JOSEPH M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 


feeding in small groups at wheat sidings. Approaching the arid central 
regions the grass coverage becomes less dependable. The dominant 
vegetation consists of small Mulga, Myall, and scattered Eucalypts and 
Casuarinas. These trees are dispersed throughout the sandy plains, the 
gibber-covered hills and rocky outcrops, and form small groves near 
waterholes, seasonal creeks and billabongs, and inland rivers. It is in 
this country that the cones of the Casuarinas and seeds of other trees and 
shrubs are utilized as food. Following many observations the author 
believes that the restricted movements of Ps. varius are governed by this 
food supply, coupled with the availability of water. The author has 
found that after rains have increased the number of waterholes and 
caused the creeks to flow, the birds arrive in good numbers and remain 
until the water dries up. Then they move to new areas where it is still 
available. This explains the fact that Mulga Parrots are unpredictable 
in the central regions, because they must always remain within 
travelling distance of a reliable water supply. It appears that this species 
has not developed, to the same degree as the Budgerigar ( Melop - 
sittacus undulatus ), a tolerance of a lack of water. 

As illustrated by the plumage descriptions, sexual dimorphism is well 
developed with the species. The sexes are readily identified. The young 
birds generally resemble their parents, but the males are usually much 
duller and may lack the red on the abdomen and thighs. All immatures 
show a marked wing-stripe, which is lost by the males and retained by 
the females with the moult at the end of the first year. 

The typical Platycercine mating display is performed by Ps. varius. 
The male takes up his position on a branch facing the female. The 
neck is stretched and the head moved up and down in a bowing-like 
motion. The wings are raised in the folded position thus giving the 
shoulders a squared appearance. The fanned tail is moved from side to 
side in an agitated manner. The display is accompanied by a soft 
chattering call. 

Prospective nesting hollows are inspected by the male at the approach 
of the breeding season, which extends from July to December. The 
breeding in certain parts of the range is strongly influenced by climatic 
conditions. The birds generally go to nest earlier in the north, where 
rainfall is of the utmost importance. On selection of a suitable hollow, 
the female is forced to enter and at once commences to form a depression 
in the decayed wood. 

The hollow chosen is usually in a broken limb or a hole in the trunk 
or main branch of a tree at varying heights from the ground. If the 
tree is growing by a watercourse the nesting site is often a well-formed 
hollow at a considerable distance from the ground. However, most 
nesting trees are small stunted specimens and this frequently dictates 
the use of a small ill-formed aperture at 6 to 10 feet. This was recorded 
in detail as applying to the Blue-bonnet (Psephotus haematogaster). 



Avicult. Mag, 



[To face p. 142 


Copyright ] [/„ M . Forshaw 

A Stand of Mulga and Stunted Eucalyptus near Cocklebiddy, W.A. : Haunt of the Mulga 


Avicult. Mag. 



Copyright ] [L. G. Chandler 

Female Mulga Parrot ( Psrphotvs varitjs) at the Nesting Hollow 


[To facep. 143 





JOSEPH M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 143 

Four to six, usually five, pure white eggs are deposited in the shallow 
excavation in the decayed wood dust lining the bottom of the hollow. 
These eggs are round in form with a shell of a fine glossy texture. The 
glossy surface quickly succumbs to nest staining. The average measure¬ 
ments are o • 88 by o • 75 inches. The eggs are laid at irregular intervals 
over a period of approximately six or seven days. 

Incubation, which is of eighteen to twenty days duration is com¬ 
menced after the laying of the second egg or later. The hen, only, 
incubates and sits very closely often refusing to leave the nest until 
lifted from the hollow. The male is very attentive to his mate and, when 
not feeding the sitting bird, he roosts in the nesting tree. At the 
approach of danger he flies excitedly to and from the tree calling loudly 
all the while. Lack of reliable records from observations on nesting pairs 
is the cause of poor knowledge of the details surrounding the feeding of 
the sitting female by her mate. 

The newly-hatched young are covered in white down, which 
gradually gives way to pin feathers. The hen closely broods her off¬ 
spring for the first few days, but as they progress the male assists with 
their feeding. The nest is vacated about five weeks after hatching and 
the young are fed regurgitated food by their parents. Upon learning to 
fend for themselves they become less dependent on the adults, but the 
family group generally remains intact until the next breeding season. 

The Mulga Parrot has always proved to be a difficult species in 
captivity. New arrivals are very delicate and generally the survival 
percentage is small. Many reasons have been put forward to explain 
the difficulty in acclimatizing the species, but it does appear to be 
brought about by a nervous disposition and a somewhat specialized 
diet. However, once the birds have settled down they are very satis¬ 
factory cage birds, becoming quite tame and confiding. They do not 
have the usual Platycercine aggressiveness and in fact are reserved by 
nature. 

Very careful consideration should be given to the diet provided. 
A basic seed mixture of plain Canary seed, sunflower seed, millet, and 
hemp in the proportions of 211:2:1 should prove satisfactory. 
A plentiful supply of greenfood in the form of milk thistles, lettuce, and 
chickweed must be maintained if successful breeding is to be accom¬ 
plished. Satisfactory results may be obtained by offering small 
quantities of soaked maize (corn), oatmeal or wheatmeal biscuits, and 
plain cake at regular intervals. Berries and fruits of various kinds should 
be offered to ascertain the birds preference, while seeding heads of 
grasses will always be appreciated. Access to grit and sand is also 
desirable. A very important item in the bird’s diet is pieces of charcoal. 
Perhaps the most satisfactory method of obtaining these is by burning 
animal bones. This results in a porous charcoal. 

Mated pairs are very devoted to each other and breeding in captivity 


144 


JOSEPH M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 


with established birds is not difficult. Intended breeding pairs should 
be isolated and provided with two or more hollow logs or nest-boxes. 
The species will sometimes tend to be double-brooded, but if the 
aviculturist is not experienced this should be discouraged by removing 
the nests after they have been vacated. It is generally more desirable to 
leave the family group together for some time if the adult male will 
accept this. 

Hybridization with this species is not common in the wild state or in 
captivity. Reliable records involving such birds as the Hooded and 
Golden-shouldered Parrots ( Psephotus chrysopterygius) , the Red-backed 
Parrot ( Psephotus haematonotus) and the Blue-bonnet (. Psephotus haemato- 
gaster) exist. 

A common inhabitant of the dry interior areas of Australia, the 
Mulga Parrot presents a balanced composition of brilliance and quiet 
charm as it forages on the sun parched ground for grass seeds. Psephotus 
varius is indeed an exquisite member of Australia’s foremost bird 
group—Psittaciformes. 


Acknowledgments 

The author is grateful to Mr. H. J. de S. Disney, Curator of Birds at 
the Australian Museum, for the loan of reference skins from the 
Museum collection. Dr. G. F. Mees, formerly Curator of Birds at the 
Western Australian Museum, assisted with the examination of the 
specimens in the collection at that Museum. Mr. L. S. Hall, of Can¬ 
berra, photographed the skins and this is much appreciated. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Boehm, E. F. Parrots and Cockatoos of the Mount Mary Plains, South Australia, 
The Emu , Vol. 59, No. 2, 1959. 

Cade, T. J., and Dybas, Jnr., J. A. Water Economy of the Budgerygah, The Auk , Vol. 
79, No. 3, pp. 345-364, 1962. 

Cain, A. J. A Revision of Trichoglossus haematodus and of the Australian Platycercine 
Parrots, The Ibis, Vol. 97, No. 3, 1955. 

Campbell, A. J. Nests and Eggs of Australian Birds, Part II, 1901. 

Clark, A. H. A New Name for Psephotus multicolor, The Auk, Vol. 27, p. 80, 1910. 

Condon, H. T. The Australian Broadtailed Parrots, Records of the South Australian 
Museum, Vol. 7, No. 1, 1941. 

-A Handlist of the Birds of South Australia, The South Australian Ornithologist, 

Vol. 23, Parts 6-8, 1963. 

Hurst, T. Many-coloured Parrakeet, The Emu, Vol. 12, No. 3, 1913. 

Jenkins, C. F. H. Overland to the Ord River, The Emu, Vol. 37, No. 1, 1947. 

Kuhl, H. Conspectus Psittacorum, Nova Acta Physico-Medica, Academiae Caesareae 
Leopoldino Carolinae, Naturae Curiosorum, Vol. 10, Part I, p. 55, 1820. 

Lea, A. M., and Gray, J. T. The Food of Australian Birds, The Emu, Vol. 35, No. 1, 
1935- 

Lendon, A. H. Australian Parrots in Captivity, 1951. 

-The ‘ Wing-stripe ’ as an Indication of Sex and Maturity in the Australian 

Broadtailed Parrots, The Avicult. Mag., 5th Series, Vol. 6, No. 5, 1941. 

London Zoological Society. Bird Notes from the Zoological Gardens, The Avicult. Mag., 
2nd Series, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1903. 


JOSEPH M. FORSHAW THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 145 

McGilp, J. N. Birds of Lake Frome District, South Australia, The Emu , Vol. 22, No. 4, 
1923. 

Mathews, G. M. A Reference-list to the Birds of Australia, Novitates goologicae, Vol. 18, 
No. 3, 1912. 

-On Some Necessary Alterations in the Nomenclature of Birds, Part II, Novitates 

Zoologicae, Vol. 18, No. 1, 1911. 

-The Birds of Australia, Vol. VI, 1917. 

Milligan, A. W. Notes on a Trip to the Yandanooka District, Western Australia, The 
Emu , Vol. 14, No. 4, 1915. 

North, A. J. Aves, Report on the Work of the Horn Scientific Expedition to Central 
Australia, Part II, Zoology, 1896. 

-Nests and Eggs of Birds found Breeding in Australia and Tasmania, Vol. Ill, 

1911-12. 

Peters, J. L. Check-List of the Birds of the World, Vol. Ill, 1937. 

Richmond, C. W. Generic Names Applied to Birds During the Years 1916 to 1922, 
Inclusive, With Additions to Waterhouse’s “ Index Generum Avium ”, 
Proceedings of the United States National Museum, Vol. 70, Article 15, 
pp. 1-44, 1927. 

Sedgwick, L. A Gabbin Bird List, The Western Australian Naturalist, Vol. 3, No. 7, 

I 95 2 ’ 

Sedgwick, E. H. Bird Life at Leonora, Western Australia, The Emu , Vol. 52, No. 4, 
1952 . 

White, S. A. A Central Australian Expedition, The Emu, Vol. 21, No. 2, 1921. 

-Birds Observed During the Visit of the R.A.O.U. to the South-Western District— 

Official Report, The Emu, Vol. 20, No. 3, 1912. 

-Scientific Notes on an Expedition Into the North-Western Regions of 

South Australia, (d) Aves, Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of 
South Australia, Vol. 39, 1915. 

-Scientific Notes on an Expedition Into the Interior of Australia Carried Out by 

S. A. White from July to October, 1913, Transactions and Proceedings of The 
Royal Society of South Australia, Vol. 38, 1914. 

Whittell, H. M. The Ornithology of Francis Thomas Gregory, The Emu, Vol. 45, 
No. 4, 1946. 


146 G. E. WHITMORE-BREEDING THE THICK-BILLED GREEN PIGEON 

BREEDING THE THICK-BILLED GREEN PIGEON 

('Treron curvirostra) 

By G. E. Whitmore (West Bromwich, England) 

After several unsuccessful attempts to breed during the winters of 
1962 and 1963, in a 7-ft. flight in my heated birdroom, I decided to put 
the pigeons in an outside flight during the early part of April, although 
the weather was quite cool at the time. The flight is 12 feet long and has 
a shelter at one end, a round nest bowl half-filled with soil and topped 
up with dead leaves and twigs was placed in one corner. Within a few 
days an egg was laid followed in two days by another. Both the parents 
helped to incubate the eggs, the cock bird in the daytime, and the hen 
at night. 

Their food consisted of diced fruit, i.e. apple, pear, banana, grape, 
etc., also soaked currants and sultanas with insect food mixed in. On the 
fourteenth day one egg hatched but two days later I found the other 
egg contained a dead young one. When the squab was eleven days old, 
the parents ceased brooding and the youngster passed the night 
perched on the side of the nest bowl. On the twelfth day the young 
pigeon, although only one-third the size of the parents, was seen perching 
in the flight and the same night perched between the cock and the hen. 
The youngster was seen feeding itself on the twenty-fourth day although 
still being fed by the parents, and at the time of writing is one month old 
and is about half the size of the hen. It is a young cock as the claret 
colour can be seen growing in on the wings. The adult pair were 
National Winners at Olympia in 1961. 

As described, G. E. Whitmore has bred the Thick-billed Green 
Pigeon, Treron curvirostra. It is believed this may be a first success. Any 
member or reader knowing of a previous breeding of this species in 
Great Britain or Northern Ireland is requested to communicate at once 
with the Honorary Secretary. 

5js S}C Jfc 

BREEDING THE NATAL FRANCOLIN 

{Francolin natalensis) 

K. S. Harrap (Bulawayo, S. Rhodesia) 

The following breeding may be of interest to fellow aviculturists. 
Twelve months (April, 1963) ago I was offered a true pair of Natal 
Francolins ( Francolinus natalensis) —attractive birds with orange bills and 
legs, fawn-brown backs, and black pencilled scaling on breast, sexes 
are alike although males are generally larger and spurred. Size 
roughly that of the English Partridge. 

Although wild trapped they soon settled down and were accommo¬ 
dated in an aviary some 20 feet square along with several pairs of ducks 



HEINZ GEORG KLOS-NEWS FROM BERLIN ZOOLOGICAL GARDEN 1 47 

and two other pairs of Francolins (Swainsons and Crested), these for¬ 
tunately all agreed fairly well together. Six months later I discovered 
that the Natal hen had laid in a small covered box I2in. by 5m. by I2in. 
hung in the shelter some 12 inches from the ground. Eight eggs com¬ 
prised the clutch and these were incubated by the female which sat very 
close for twenty days. Seven chicks hatched but unfortunately these 
were attacked by the Crested Francolins when coming out of the box 
the following day, three only were saved and placed under a broody 
bantam the same evening. She took to them and then came the problem 
of suitable food. White ants (termites) were offered and eagerly eaten 
by the chicks—these were given ad lib for the first week when a tin of 
growers mash was added to their diet. At first they were not interested, 
but when I sprinkled it with mixed bird seed they soon started picking. 
This food, with the addition of chopped lettuce, obviously agreed with 
them as they never looked back and started to grow rapidly. 

At nine weeks one chick went blind for no apparent reason and I had 
to destroy it, the other two are now (April, 1964) six months old and 
fully grown. They are, of course, very tame and had their freedom in 
the garden roaming around with the bantams until one month ago 
when I put them in a covered aviary as I was afraid that they would be 
mistaken for wild ones and shot. 

I have not heard of anyone here or overseas breeding them and 
wonder if this is a first record. The parent birds were presented along 
with some others to Chester Zoo so am hoping they will also be successful 
in breeding them. 


* * * 

NEWS FROM THE BERLIN ZOOLOGICAL 

GARDEN 

By Dr. Heinz Georg Klos 

The large walk-through aviary in the new Berlin Zoo Bird House with 
its luxurious tropical vegetation has proved to be a favourable breeding- 
place for different species. After the hatching of three Hill Mynas last 
year (which were not reared) two Red-eared Bulbuls hatched on 26th 
March, 1964, but were unfortunately killed about three weeks later by 
the Kiskadees or Drongos. The Rufous-winged Kiskadees (Pitangus 
sulphuratus), have just now built a globular nest and seem to be 
attempting to breed. 

The most spectacular breeding success was that of a young Great 
Crowned Pigeon (Goura cristata ), the first one bred to the second genera¬ 
tion. 2 /1 Great Crowned Pigeons are living in the walk-through aviary. 
The female was hatched and raised in the Zoo in 1959 by a breeding 
pair imported in 1957, the two cock pigeons were reared in 1961 and 


148 HEINZ GEORG KLOS-NEWS FROM BERLIN ZOOLOGICAL GARDEN 

1962. Having shown their peculiar courtship behaviour almost through¬ 
out the year 1963, one pair was seen mating in January, 1964, and 
taking possession of an artificial nest in a tree about 2 metres above the 
ground of the aviary. The young one was seen in the nest for the first 
time on March 27th, 1964. It left the nest on 26th April. Although 
Crowned Pigeons have been bred in zoological gardens several times, 
this is, as far as we know, the first breeding to the second generation. 

The Flamingos, both European (Ph. r. antiquorum) and Chilean 
(. Ph . r. chilensis) have started breeding again. Last year the first young 
Flamingo in Germany was reared at the Berlin Zoo. Between 30th 
April and 14th May, 1964, the European Flamingos laid seven eggs, 
and the Chilean, one. Maybe some more will follow, because about a 
dozen pairs are sitting on nest hills and making breeding attempts. 
However, pairing was rather difficult in the pinioned birds last year, 
when only one of a total of five eggs was hatched. So also this year most 
of the eggs will remain undeveloped. 

Among the other birds which have bred our pair of Black-necked 
Swans, which has reared twenty-one young ones in four years, two 
pairs of White Storks, and our pair of Snowy Owls are worth men¬ 
tioning. Two eggs of our pair of White-naped Cranes, two Magellan 
Goose eggs and one Black Vulture egg are in the incubator, together 
with a great number of waterfowl and pheasant eggs. 

Between March 25th and 29th, three young Great Eagle-Owls 
hatched, reared by our fine breeding pair which has been in the Zoo 
since 1958. 

Among the many new arrivals this spring the following may be worth 
mentioning : 2 Peruvian Boobies, 2 White-faced Tree Ducks, 4 Javan 
Tree Ducks, 6 European Green-winged Teals, 3 Baikal Teals, 10 
Garganeys, 2 Atlantic Blue-winged Teals, 2 Black Ducks, 4 South 
American Comb Ducks, 4 European Eiders, 3 European Greater 
Scaups, 8 European Golden-eyes, 1 Ashy-headed Goose, 1 Andean 
Goose, 2 Black Swans, 4 Lapwings, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 1 Ringed 
Plover, 2 Golden Plovers, 2 Banded Plovers, 1 Redshank, 2 Common 
Sandpipers, 5 Ruffs, 4 Great White Herons, 4 Night Herons, 1 Bittern, 
2 Straw-necked Ibises, 2 Harlequin Quails, 4 Californian Quails, 

1 Argus Pheasant, 6 Bleeding-heart Pigeons, 2 Nicobar Pigeons, 

2 Double-banded Fruit Pigeons, 1 Jendaya Parrakeet, 2 Blossom-headed 
Parrakeets, 1 Rose-faced Lovebird, 1 Green-billed Toucan, 1 Toco 
Toucan, 2 Great Himalayan Barbets, 1 White-cheeked Turaco, 
4 White-breasted Humming-birds, 2 Bare-throated Bell-birds, 3 Long¬ 
tailed Wydahs, 6 Shaft-tailed Wydahs, 2 Red Siskins, 2 Gold-crested 
Grackles, 3 Superb Tanagers, 1 Three-coloured Tanager, 1 Palm 
Tanager, 1 Scarlet Tanager, 1 Crowned Tanager and a great number of 
other weavers, whydahs, mannikins, and waxbills. 


NEWS AND VIEWS 


149 


LONDON ZOO NOTES 

By J. J. Yealland 

Three specimens of the Yellow-throated Sandgrouse ( Pterocles 
gutturalis), a species new to the collection, have been presented by 
Mr. J. O. D’eath. This species inhabits the upland plains of eastern 
parts of Africa, two races being recognized. It is said to be fond of 
frequenting recently burnt grassland, perhaps because it likes roasted 
seeds and bulbous roots. 

One King and three Gentoo Penguins which were brought from 
South Georgia have been presented by the personnel of H.M.S. 
Protector ; a pair of Boatbills ( Cochlearius cochlearius) by the Paignton 
Zoological and Botanical Gardens and among other gifts are an 
Egyptian Plover or Crocodile Bird, four African Ring-necked Parra- 
keets, two Abyssinian Lovebirds, a Yellow-fronted Woodpecker 
(.Melanerpes flavifrons) and a White-faced Scops Owl (Otus leucotis). 

Two young Ostriches, two Black-winged Kites ( Elanus caeruleus) and 
a pair of Spot-billed Toucanets have been purchased, and a Green 
Wood Hoopoe (Phoeniculus purpureus) and two Dusky Miners ( Myzantha 
obscura) have been received in exchange. 

The Spotted Eagle-Owls that bred in mid-winter have reared a 
further three chicks and Humboldt’s Penguins are among the birds at 
present incubating eggs. 


* * * 

NEWS AND VIEWS 

Dr. S. Dillon Ripley has been elected a Corresponding Member, 
South African Ornithological Society. 

* * * 

Chester Zoological Gardens. The Spotted Eagle-Owls have hatched 
two chicks and the Greater Eagle-Owls four. This is the third year in 
succession that breeding successes have been obtained with these owls. 

Two Barn Owls were hatched and reared in the Edinburgh Zoo last 
year. 

* * * 

During the past breeding season some noteworthy successes have been 
recorded in South Australia. W. Curl, Myrtle Holme, has bred the 
Regent Bower-Bird Sericulus chrysocephalus. J. G. Hamilton, Walkerville > 
has bred the Purple-crowned Lorikeet Glossopsitta porphyrocephala. 
Breeding accounts have been published in Bird Keeping in Australia. 
In addition, H. J. Hutchinson has been successful with the Golden- 
crowned Conure. 


50 


NEWS AND VIEWS 


Dr. N. P. Sholar, Mooresville, North Carolina, reports : “ Our 
Psittacines are doing very well. I have raised over forty-five Port 
Lincoln Parrots over the last three years, and what is unique about this 
is that no one else has ever raised any over here in the United States. 
My Pennants have raised some twenty-five the past three years. A few 
Barnards also have been raised ”. 

* * * 

P. H. Pudney, Flinders Park, South Australia, has recently reared 
a brood of four Bourke Parrakeets. Such an event is not unusual in 
itself but what was unusual was the nesting site. An 18-inch length of 
6 • oo tyre, with one end blocked and the other partly so, was hung in 
the normal manner. The split part which normally fits the rim was 
covered with tin and not being a perfect fit allowed ventilation. 

* * * 

W. D. Cummings reports from Keston : “ We thought you would be 
interested to learn that our Fairy Bluebirds hatched two young—at a 
fleeting glance they looked like baby Moorhens, covered with black 
down and with scarlet gapes. Things were progressing well for about 
a week, as cock and hen were both feeding, and then all stopped and I 
could find no sign of them ; this coincided with a particularly wet 
weekend and could have had something to do with it ”. 

❖ * * 

B. V. Ramanjulu, of the Indian Ornithological Garden, Dhran- 
gadhra, reports two recent breeding successes. Malabar Parrakeet 
Psittacula columboides. On 16th April, 1964, the nest was found to con¬ 
tain five eggs ; three hatched on 1st, 2nd, 3rd May, and all three 
young are doing well. Indian Ring-necked X Moustache Parrakeet. The 
Moustache mated with a very young male Ring-necked in spite of 
several good Moustache males being in the same aviary. Two eggs were 
seen on 30th March, 1964. One young one was found on 13th April, 
and the second hatched on the 17th. The first fell from the nest on the 
24th and died from its injuries. The second is thriving. 

^ ^ ^ 

In the Magazine , 1963, 177, we mentioned the successful breeding of 
Corncrakes in the Edinburgh Zoo. Last year the success was repeated. 
A male mated with two females. One laid twelve eggs but only four 
hatched and the male killed the chicks as they left the nest. The second 
female, one of the 1962-bred birds, laid nine eggs. To prevent further 
tragedy the male and first female were removed to an adjoining aviary. 
Six chicks made their appearance on 1st July ; the other three eggs 
proved to be infertile. One chick was drowned in the small drinking 
pond, but the five others were fully reared. An observation worthy of 
note is that in the spring, 1962, both male and female were seen and 
heard uttering the well-known, rasping disyllabic sound crek-crek. 
There is a breeding account and some good photographs of the young 



REVIEWS 


151 

Corncrakes in the Annual Report , ig 6 g, of the Royal Zoological Society of 
Scotland. 

* * * 

The Scottish National Zoological Park, Edinburgh, last year cele¬ 
brated its Jubilee, 1913-1963. In honour of the event Messrs. Chr. 
Salvesen and Co., Ltd., presented sixty-two Gentoo Penguins, from 
South Georgia. According to the Annual Report , ig 6 g, the breeding for 
the year in the penguin colony was satisfactory. “ Six kings, eleven 
gentoos and two macaronis were hatched, but five of the gentoo 
chicks and, even more to be regretted, the two macaronis succumbed. 
The remaining six gentoo chicks and all six king chicks, however, have 
been successfully reared, the former already moulted into adult 
plumage while the young kings will retain their brown chick down till 
the following spring. It is worthy of record that two eggs were laid 
during the season by one of the female kings, the first being infertile and 
discarded. Previous examples of this double laying by king penguins 

were recorded in 1919, 1922 (when two birds laid twice) and 1923 ”. 

* * * 

John A. Fell, Victoria, Australia, sends his results for the 1963-64 
breeding season. Pale-headed Rosella, one ; Adelaide X Pale-headed, 
killed by the female parent ; Yellow Rosella, the old breeding cock 
died and the hen made a very poor job of rearing the young, only two 
left the nest and these died within a few days ; Golden-mantled Rosella, 
four ; Eastern (Red) Rosella, three ; Adelaide X Yellow Rosella, 
three ; Green Rosella, the hen laid three clutches of mostly fertile eggs 
despite a crippled foot, some hatched but none was reared ; Red- 
rumped, five ; Blue-bonnet, two ; Cockatiel, two ; Regent, one ; 
Turquoisine, eighteen ; Scarlet-chested, two ; Blue-winged, four ; 
Elegant, three ; Mallee Ring-necked, three ; Pileated, three ; Masked 
Lovebird, one ; Peach-faced, thirty-four ; Nyasa, eighteen ; wild, 
green Budgerigar, three ; other Budgerigars, eight ; Swamp Quail, 
four ; King Quail, six ; Diamond Dove, six, silver, two, split, three ; 
Bar-shouldered Dove, seven ; Brush Bronze-winged, two ; Common 
Bronze-winged, two ; Crested Pigeon, five ; Indian Ruddy Dove, four ; 
Indian Turtle Dove, three ; Talpacoti Dove, one ; fawn Ring-necked 
Dove, four ; Java Dove, four ; Peaceful Dove, failed to rear ; Squatter 
Pigeon, laid four clutches but refused to incubate ; Zebra Finch, forty- 
five reared, nine varieties. A. A. P. 

* * * 

REVIEWS 

ZEBRA FINCHES. By C. H. Rogers. Iliffe Books, Ltd., London, 
1964. Price 7i. 6 d. 

This book deals with the keeping and exhibiting of Zebra Finches. 
It includes detailed descriptions of all the different colour varieties and 


2 


152 


REVIEWS 


these will be of interest to many who are aviculturists or ornithologists 
rather than fanciers. The standards of the Zebra Finch Society demand 
that show birds should be “ Bold throughout and of the c Cobby 5 
type ” so the reviewer fears that, in a few more years, our Zebra Finches 
may well become the same sort of monstrous travesties of their beautiful 
original as are our present-day Budgerigars. The remedy suggested for 
birds which show hypertrophy of nest-building behaviour and make 
“ egg sandwiches ” is not, as one would have thought, to breed from 
those that don’t behave in this way but to supply so little nest material 
that they are unable to. 

Very full instructions on feeding and housing are given and will be of 
great value to the novice. Little is said about the behaviour of the 
Zebra Finch, on which so much of interest has been published of recent 
years in the ornithological literature. A comparison of the author’s own 
observations with these would have been of considerable interest since 
it appears (page 13) that in those Zebra Finches he has kept the females 
have, in contrast to what others have recorded, taken the major role in 
seeking nest sites and fetching building material. Whilst this book 
cannot be recommended as comprehensive to those whose interests 
lie in the Zebra Finch as an interesting species rather than a show 
object, even they will find it a useful addition to more ornithological 
works while to the budding “ fancier ” it will be invaluable. 

D. G. 

THE BOOK OF CAGE BIRDS. By Charles Trevisick. Stanley 

Paul and Co., London, 1964. Price i6.y. 

This book covers nearly all aspects of bird keeping although the 
emphasis is rather on pet birds and the showing of birds than on 
breeding. The author is obviously a great enthusiast but, perhaps, 
tends to communicate this enthusiasm a little too readily and to give 
the impression that bird keeping is a lot simpler and less demanding 
than it is ; or at any rate ought to be if the birds are to be given a fair 
deal. To give one example ; the statement (page 14) “ A lot of the 
birds that one buys are freshly imported and for the first few weeks 
appreciate a little warmth,” (italics mine) would hardly indicate to the 
complete beginner, who is most likely to consult such a book, that in 
fact many of them will die if they don’t get a lot of warmth. 

The diet recommended for “ all the Finch family ” (page 51), in 
which context it is clear that “ finch ” is being used (justifiably in a 
book on bird keeping pure and simple) for both finches and estrildines, 
does not include insects. In the chapter on doves we are told that 
“ Being peaceful by nature they do not damage the wire one bit ”. The 
latter part of this statement (only) is, of course, true, but the wire is only 
too likely to damage the doves more than one bit if they fly forcibly 
against it. This, as all dove keepers will know, may happen in several 


REVIEWS 


*53 


contexts. Typically there is no mention of such happenings or any 
indication of how they can be minimized or avoided. The terms 
“ variety ”, “ type ”, etc., are used throughout when species are meant 
and the beautiful wild species of Phasianidae are referred to as 
“ Fancy Pheasants ”. 

D. G. 

THE COLOURFUL WORLD OF BIRDS. By Jean Dorst. Paul 
Hamlyn, London, 1964. Price 15s. net. 

This colourful book is certainly a worthy medium for the subject of 
colourful birds. The illustrations by Pierre Probst are both attractive 
in themselves and attractively arranged and the letterpress, written for 
children, is by an ornithologist of international repute, Professor Jean 
Dorst, Director at the National Museum of Natural History, Paris. It 
is stated that this is a book for all children with enquiring minds and it 
will undoubtedly stimulate their interest in, and greatly increase their 
knowledge of, birdlife. The excellent and simple maps showing bird 
migration and where various species occur are particularly good. In a 
chapter devoted to cage-birds the author relates how the first Canaries 
were brought to France and also tells how Parrakeets and Parrots were 
brought to Europe. A section entitled “ Do you know that...” contains an 
interesting assortment of most varied information. This is certainly a 
gift book all children would like to receive, and those who are no longer 
children would not find it amiss. 

P. B-S. 

THE BIRDS OF THE LONDON AREA. By a Committee of The 
London Natural History Society. A new and revised edition. Rupert 
Hart-Davis, London, 1964, price 42 s. net. 

This new and revised edition of the London Natural History Society’s 
invaluable record of London’s birds is most welcome. The first edition, 
which was published in 1957, was produced by a Committee under the 
chairmanship of R. C. Homes and the present edition has again been 
prepared by Mr. Homes with the assistance of Stanley Cramp and 
D. I. M. Wallace. The first edition covered the years 1900 up to the end 
of 1954 and the original text has not been altered but a supplementary 
chapter added covering the years 1955 to 1961 detailing the major 
changes and giving special emphasis to Inner London and migration. 
In these years twenty-five species have been recorded in the Area for 
the first time this century bringing the total number up to 270. These 
new records include such rarities as Purple Heron, Crane, Spoonbill, 
Rose-coloured Starling, and Caspian Tern. 

The loss of habitat by wading and water birds by the modernization 
of sewage farms and draining of marshy ground is a depressing though 


i54 


NOTES 


inevitable result of increasing density of population and it is disturbing 
to read of the decrease in breeding species of birds of prey, the Kestrel 
and Sparrow Hawk which have now become quite rare birds. The Black 
Redstart which established itself as a breeding bird in the bombed sites 
of Inner London which offered its favourite nesting sites has slowly 
declined since new buildings have been erected. But on the other hand 
new nesting species have arrived and the provision of sanctuaries in 
parks, active protection given by the various authorities and the keen 
interest of the general public are encouraging for the future. 

P. B-S. 


NOTES 


Breeding Black-necked Swans 

As the 1963 season was so cold all but the last egg laid by my Black-necked Swans 
got frozen and so only one hatched off. Thus steps were taken to protect the eggs this 
year and the result was that five out of six were hatched off. 

One egg was left in the nest and the other eggs were taken away as soon as possible 
for safety ; but difficulty was experienced in providing the pen with dummy eggs. 
Large electric bulbs were tried but they were very soon turned out of the nest. 

A greengrocer, on being asked if he could supply some “ oval ” grapefruit, replied 
“ I beg your pardon, you did say oval ones sir ? ” to which I answered “ the 64,000 
dollar question is, of course, what do I want oval grapefruit for, so I will give you 
64,000 guesses ”. The greengocer asked again “ you did say 4 oval grapefruit ’ sir ? ” 
When he was told that they would be used as dummy swans eggs he soon provided some 
of the right shape by hand manipulation. 

So as eggs were taken away, grapefruit were used as dummies. In due course of time, 
the sixth egg was laid and the pen started to sit. The grapefruit were then replaced by 
the proper eggs. 

It might be of interest to know that even the grapefruit were not wasted, someone 
found them in the greenhouse and ate them, expressing the view that they were the 
tenderest, ripest grapefruit they had ever had in their life. They were somewhat shocked 
when they were informed that they ought to be, as a swan had sat on them for a 
fortnight. 

The only tragedy this year was that one of the cygnets fell out of the nest and could 
not get back before it died of cold. It is suggested that just before the eggs hatch out, 
the nest should be lowered to prevent this happening ; the four cygnets are thriving on 
duck weed and turkey crumbs. 

One other event of interest has happened to the Australian Shellducks. The female 
sat on eleven eggs until they chipped, then eleven ducklings hatched under a bantam 
and all have survived. It would be interesting to know if this is a record. 

Robert A. Copley. 


The Editor does not accept responsibility for opinions expressed in articles , notes, or 
correspondence. 


SPECIAL 

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7 lb. 

31/- 


“ GREENSTUFF ” 


A dehydrated form of green 
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spinach, carrot, etc., readily 
taken by all birds. 

Packets 1/3 & 3/10, also sold 
in bulk. 


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MEALWORMS 

“ MARBA ” DUTCH BRED “ SANTA ” GERMAN BRED 

(small type) (large type) 

Whether you prefer the small Dutch mealworm or the larger German type, 
we can give you the finest service obtainable, with shipments arriving twice 
weekly. Dispatch guaranteed same day as orders received. 

1 oz. 3/- 2 oz. 5/0 4 oz. 8/6 8 oz. 15/- I lb. 25/- 

Also in original Boxes as imported Nett weight guaranteed 

2 lb. 47/6 3i lb. 66/6 6£ lb. £6 5s. Od. All Carriage Paid. 


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We sell only the best liver-fed maggots, specially recleaned and ready for 
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2 oz. 4 oz. 8 oz. I lb. 

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Dried Flies (Chinese) 

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Dried Dragonfly larvae .... 

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Ant Eggs ...... 

Pure Dried Egg ..... 

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„ „ „ (Crushed) 

Pure Breadcrumbs (Fine, Medium, or Coarse), far superior to 

biscuit meal. 2 lb. 3/-; 4 lb. 5/6 ; 14 lb. 17/6 

“ Egg-crumbs,” guaranteed to consist of 90 per cent breadcrumbs and 

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ALL ABOVE PRICES ARE POST PAID 


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CANDIDATES FOR ELECTION 

W. H. Brown, 21 The Ridgeway, Tonbridge, Kent. Proposed by J. Yealland. 
Brigadier N. S. Cowan, Administrator, The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor, 
Aylesbury, Bucks. Proposed by L. W. Hill. 

F. H. Gooding, Friday Farm, Crawley Down, Sussex. Proposed by Miss S. Locker 
Lampson. 

J. Hutchinson, 130 Baslow Road, Totley, Sheffield. Proposed by D. V. Guest. 

Mrs. Eve Laidlay, Holmwood, Perth. Proposed by A. A. Prestwich. 

Harold F. Leeming, 33 Coral Road, Cronulla, New South Wales, Australia. Proposed 
by Miss K. Bonner. 

Eric Lindgren, University of Western Australia, Department of Zoology, Nedlands, 
Western Australia. Proposed by J. M. Forshaw. 

O. D. Long, Box 8063 Causeway, Salisbury, S. Rhodesia. Proposed by Mrs. H. V. 
Wheeler. 

James Mailer, Park Farm, Buckden, Huntingdon. Proposed by Hartley Brown. 
Stuart A. Moore, i Nevill Way, Hove 4, Sussex. Proposed by A. A. Prestwich. 
Jack H. Rawlings, Kelling Pines, Holt, Norfolk. Proposed by Miss K. Bonner. 

Mrs. Doris Turner, Golden Pheasant Hotel, Llwynmawr, Nr. Wrexham, North 
Wales. Proposed by L. W. Hill. 

Professor G. W. Wharton, Department of Zoology and Entomology, The Ohio State 
University, 1735 Neil Avenue, Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A. Proposed by A. A. 
Prestwich. 

NEW MEMBERS 

The eighteen Candidates for Election in the May-June, 1964, number of the 
Avicultural Magazine were duly elected members of the Society. 

RE-ADMITTED TO MEMBERSHIP 
J. M. Fisher, The Old Rectory, Ashton, Northampton. 

Carl-Ivar Stroemgren, P.O. Box 309, Cathedral Station, New York 25, N.Y., U.S.A. 
CHANGES OF ADDRESS 

Mrs. Lucille Z. Bruns, to The Pet Hut, 4102 East Anaheim Street, Long Beach 4, 
California, U.S.A. 

Mrs. D. E. Dineen, to Walton Manor Aviaries, Chequers Lane, Walton-on-the-Hill, 
Tadworth, Surrey. 

T. Dineen, to Walton Manor Aviaries, Chequers Lane, Walton-on-the-Hill, Tadworth, 
Surrey. 

Rainer R. Erhart, to Department of Geography, University of Illinois, Urbana, 
Illinois, U.S.A. 

Mario C. Fernandes, to Rua Dr. Julio de Matos 89-20 Esq., Porto, Portugal. 
Dennis V. Guest, to The Rectory, Wilford, Nottingham. 

Mrs. B. M. Gwynne-Evans, to 24 Cottesmore Gardens, London, W. 8. 

Major E. F. Housden, to 82 Stoneleigh Park Road, Ewell, Surrey. 

E. J. T. Housden, to c/o the Ministry of Justice, Box R. W. 84, Lusaka, Northern 
Rhodesia. 

Major M. Hughes-Halls, to Fidler’s Lodge, South Park, Carlton Road, South 
Godstone, Surrey. 

Dr. Lewis F. Kibler, to 212 Front Street, Jamestown, New York, U.S.A. 

Ference Kiss, to 1105 Glasgow Road, Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.A. 

John D. Lindsay, to c/o Barclays Bank, D.C. 20, Port of Spain, Trinidad, W. 1. 

J. A. Page, to Barnby Villa, Newport Road, Emberton, Nr. Olney, Bucks. 
Wolfgang Rohr, to Director, Heidelberg Zoo, Tiergarten-Str. Germany. 

Ronald H. Sales, to 4 Kingsdown Road, Trowbridge, Wiltshire. 

K. E. L. Simmons, to 11 Ashgrove, Clevedon, Somerset. 

Dr. T. G. Taylor, to 64 St. Peters Avenue, Caversham, Reading, Berks. 

Jan R. van Oosten, to 2011 Mountain View Drive, Mt. Vernon, Washington, U.S.A. 
Mrs. Grace Wheatley, to Church View, Thakeham Street, Nr. Guildford, Surrey. 
S. H. Woods, to 39 Pentland Rise, Portchester, Hants. 


DONATIONS 
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MEMBERS’ ADVERTISEMENTS 

The charge for Members * advertisements is threepence per word. Payment must accompany 
the advertisement , which must be sent on or before the 15 th of the month to A. A. Prestwich, 
Galley’s Wood, Edenbridge, Kent. All members of the Society are entitled to use this 
column , but the Council reserves the right to refuse any advertisements they consider unsuitable . 


For rare birds contact Baidyanath Acooli. Exporter of rare Indian animals. Post 
Box 12008, Calcutta 2, India. 

Wanted. Avicultural Magazine, Vol. 5-8, Part 1 (January-February, 1952) :— 
Peter Glover, The Old Clergy House, Cornwood, Ivybridge, Devon. 

For Sale. Avicultural Magazine, 1928 to 1964, Also Foreigner, 1934/5/6 and 
part 1937 :—-J. Leavesley Buxton, 227 Streetsbrook Road, Solihull, Warwickshire. 


LIST OF MEMBERS 

A List of Members, including titles and degrees and addresses, is due to be published 
in the January-February, 1965 number of the Magazine. 

It would be helpful and much appreciated if members would kindly inform the 
Hon. Secretary of any alterations, additions, or subtractions as soon as possible, and at 
the latest 31st October, 1964. 


STEPHEN AUSTIN AND SONS, LTD., PRINTERS, HERTFORD. 




NTENTS 


PAGE 


Grey Parrot {withplate), by Mrs. Eve Wicks 
Breeding the Malachite Sunbird {Nectarinia famosa), by Mrs. K. M. Scamell 
Breeding the Hoopoe, by Charles Everitt ...... 

A Near Miss with a Scarlet-chested Sunbird, by B. E. Reed 
Pheasants at the Sydney Royal Show, by Norman MgCance 
Breeding the Joyful Greenbul, by Charles Everitt . . 

The New Tropical House at Chester Zoo (with plate), by M. F. Coupe . 

In Memoriam—Cecil Stanley Webb (with plate) ...... 

California Aviaries, by Jean Delacour ....... 

Hooded Mergansers—Rearing Problems, by Robert A. Copley . 

Notes on the Rufous-breasted Dunnock [Prunella strophiata ), by C. J. O. Harrison 
The Masked Wood Swallow, by Charles Everitt ..... 

London Zoo Notes, by J. J. Yealland ....... 

News and Views ........... 


*55 

158 

163 

166 

168 

170 

172 

173 
177 
182 
184 
186 

188 

189 


VOL. 70 No. 5 


PRICE 7/6 


SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 

1964 




THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY 

Founded 1894 

President: Miss E. Maud Knobel 

Hon* Secretary and Treasurer: A. A. Prestwich, Galley’s Wood. 
Nr. Edenbridge, Kent. 

Assistant Secretary s Miss Kay Bonner. 

Membership Subscription is £2 per annum, due on 1st January each year, and 
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Secretary: Mr. David West, 209 N. 18th Street, Montebello, California, U.S.A. 

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THE AVICULTURAL MAGAZINE 

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Avicultural Society. Members joining at any time during the year are entitled to the 
back numbers for the current year on the payment of subscription. All matter for 
publication in the Magazine should be addressed to :— 

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Avicult. Mag. 




Copyright] 


African Grey Parrot Chick Fifty-four Days Old. 

Perching. 


[Mrs. Wicks 


Copyright ] [Mrs. Wicks 

African Grey Parrot Chick When Six Months Old. 
Shows eye fully pearled. 


Frontispiece 




Avicultural Magazine 

THE JOURNAL OF THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY 


Vol. 70.—No. 5 .—All rights reserved. SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER, 1964 

“ SUKIE ”, BABY AFRICAN GREY PARROT 

By Mrs. Eve Wicks (St. Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex, England) 

This bird was hand-reared by me from the age of seventeen days, and 
members may like particulars of the notes I kept. 

The parents “ Johnny and Jackie ”, produced three babies, but were 
themselves too young to cope with the responsibility of rearing a 
family to maturity. 

The first chick died when three weeks old and the second one died 
four days later, also three weeks old. 

23rd September , ig6j. 17 days old. Weight 4 J oz . 

The third chick looked very feeble and would obviously have joined 
the others, so I took it indoors and presumed that if it got through the 
critical three-week period it stood a chance of survival. 

It was so weak and half-starved that the first day I had difficulty in 
getting it to take a few drops of mixture every hour. I fed it with a 
spoon turned slightly sideways, as would be the mother’s beak. 

With the resilience of youth, however, it was taking a teaspoonful of 
mixture every two hours by the next day. Its last feed was 11 p.m. and 
it would not take any food during the night. 

The mixture was Bengers and arrowroot, made to the consistency of 
thin cream, with hot milk. The arrowroot was given because the 
droppings were so liquid. After a week I substituted Farex for the 
arrowroot. 

“ Sukie ” was housed in a box 14 inches square, turned on its side, 
to keep the chick dark and protect his tender eyes, only just cracking 
open. 

The mother had denuded him of down and he was quite naked, so it 
was essential to keep him warm. 

Peat was in the bottom of the box, covered with a woolly, and a 
woolly covered the hot-water bottle, to keep back direct heat. The 
chick was covered by another light woolly and snuggled up to the bottle. 

From a tender age he could throw off the woolly or wriggle under it 
at will. 

■ 


ftiaiTlIPAMI AM 


c\ e\ 






156 EVE WICKS-“ SUKIE,” BABY AFRICAN GREY PARROT 

1st October , 1363. 23 days old. Weight 6 oz. 

6th October , 1363. 26 days old. oz. 

“ Sukie ” is now exercising by feet stamping and wing flapping. The 
wings are very tender and swollen, where the feathers are about to 
break through, much like a baby’s gums when teething, and he needed 
very gentle handling. 

nth October , 1363. 31 days old. Weight g oz. 

Primaries breaking through. 

13th October. 34 days old. 

Has commenced preening and will not be covered up during the day¬ 
time. Scratching peat vigorously. 

16th October , 1363. 36 days old. ii\ oz. 

Taking six teaspoonsful of mixture at each meal : 8 a.m., 11 a.m., 
4 p.m., 8 p.m., 11 p.m. The long break between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. 
would presumably be when the parents rested. 

“ Sukie ” always dictated his own meal times and lengthened the time 
between meals when ready to do so, by refusing a meal at the already 
agreed time, but accepting it half an hour or so later. 

21st October , 1363. 41 days old. Weight , 13 oz. 

Red tail just breaking through. Will now eat up to fourteen sun¬ 
flower seeds, slightly crushed after shelling, after each meal. 

“ Sukie ” is now vigorously scratching the peat first to one side to a 
height of 10 inches, and then back again. While doing this he suddenly 
pounces on any sunflower seed kernels that may have been dropped. 
He can see quite well in the dark. 

Presumably this scratching of the bedding would be for two reasons. 

(1) It would aerate the nest and, as the chicks stay in it for twelve 
weeks or more, this keeps it dry and sweet. 

(2) It exercises the chick and by pouncing on any particles of food 
teaches him to pick up for himself. 

23th October , 1363. 43 days old. Weight 14 oz. 

Food is now made to the consistency of thick cream, but “ Sukie ” is 
getting tired of baby food. Have tried him with scrambled egg 
and also porridge, but after a few meals this also was rejected. 

The slow process of shelling quantities of sunflower seeds has now 
commenced. 

2nd November , 1363. 33 days old. Weight 13 oz. 

Now enjoys a lamb chop bone, with a little lean meat, no fat ; and 
I also cracked sunflower seeds and let him extract the kernel himself. 
This he enjoyed so much that it was a job to get him to take the shelled 
seeds and as he was so slow in getting out the kernel, it was quite a 
problem to see that he consumed sufficient. I also gave him a little 
Madeira cake and a grape. 




EVE WICKS 44 SUKIE,” BABY AFRICAN GREY PARROT 1 57 

He can now use his beak for balancing himself and is chewing apple 
twigs. He perches during the day, but still likes to be tucked up at night. 

3th November, 1363. 56 days old. Weight 15 oz- 

He never reached this weight again, so presumably it was 44 puppy- 
fat ”. Meals are a problem, refuses all soft food. 

12th November, 1363. 63 days old. Weight 13 oz- 

Loss of weight due to 44 Sukie’s 55 independence. Can now crack his 
own sunflower seeds, and is so very slow, but insists on doing the job 
himself. I still persevere with offering shelled seeds in between the 
process of shelling his own. 

He is now feathering nicely and his red tail is 2J in. long. 

23th November, 1363. y6 days old. Weight 13 oz- 

I have three other parrots in the room, so 44 Sukie ” has not become 
too humanized. These birds (an African Grey cock, an Amazon cock 
and an Amazon hen) are all free and 44 Sukie ” now likes to go into an 
empty cage and copy the other birds. 

3rd December, 1363. 84 days old. Weight 13 oz . 

Flying well, but cannot land properly or change direction. 

10th December, 1363. 31 days old. Weight 13 oz . 

Can now control flight and back-pedal to land. Practised this a lot 
and seemed to enjoy it. 

24th December, 1363. 13 weeks. Weight 13 oz- 

Eyes starting to pearl and 44 Sukie ” getting aggressive with the other 
birds. Realizes that I rescue him when he is in a fix. Decided to let him 
stand on his own feet and did not rescue him when he was showing off. 
This checked his aggression, but he will still tweak the tail of any bird 
near to him and fly back to my head (his favourite perch) for safety. 

31st December, 1363. 16 weeks. Weight 13 oz . 

44 Sukie 5 5 is completely fearless of anything and anybody. When a 
friend came in with her dog, he perched on its head, although he had 
never seen a dog before. He has since done this with another dog, but 
fortunately both dogs were used to birds, so they took no notice of him. 

After feeding the chick I always wiped his beak with a tissue and now 
every time he sees a handkerchief he wants his beak wiped. 

44 Sukie ” is now six months old and weighs 14 oz. He is in perfect 
feather and the only thing that distinguishes him from an adult is the 
brown tips to his red tail-feathers. 

For the last two months he has been very playful and, at the same 
time, occasionally quite spiteful. He nipped quite sharply, and 
obviously intended to hurt. 

This is, perhaps, nature’s way of making the parent birds wean off 
their young and make them fend for themselves. He is now getting 
very affectionate, and only nips on rare occasions. 


i5 8 


K. M. SCAMELL-BREEDING THE MALACHITE SUNBIRD 


BREEDING THE MALACHITE SUNBIRD 

(Nectarinia famosa) 

By Mrs. K. M. Sgamell (Newdigate, Surrey) 

The Malachite Sunbird is perhaps one of the best known and, once 
acclimatized, the hardiest of the East and South-East African Sunbirds 
which are kept in aviaries and cages in this country. Much has been 
written about this species in this and other avicultural magazines so 
I will describe only briefly one of the most brilliant of the sunbirds. 

The general distribution of this sunbird extends from Eritrea to the 
Transvaal. There are two races of the species, the more brilliant in 
colour and larger in size, I believe, coming from the South. It is a bird 
of the hills and mountains and according to some writers, is usually 
found at levels above 5,000 feet and on Mt. Kenya and elsewhere at 
altitudes up to 14,000 feet. It feeds on the nectar found in aloes and 
other tubular flowers and is highly insectivorous. One of the largest 
of sunbirds, the cock is very handsome in breeding plumage which in 
this country we have found to be fleeting and incomplete. In colour 
it is in general a metallic green with a golden wash. The flight feathers 
and tail are blackish—the central tail feathers elongated. Underneath, 
the metallic feathering is bluish. The female is drab in colour, 
brownish above with a blackish white-tipped tail, the outer feathers of 
which are also edged with white which helps to distinguish this species 
from other hen sunbirds. Below, the hen is a mottled yellow. Out of 
colour the cock retains its tail until it is moulted, but the dark flight 
feathers still remain, together with some metallic feathering. At such 
times he is also a drab specimen. 

We obtained our pair about two years ago from acquaintances in 
Southampton. The birds had been imported direct from South-East 
Africa and were placed in an aviary with a pair of Paradise Flycatchers 
and a pair of Diamond Doves. The aviary shelter has heat in the 
winter (minimum normally about 40° F. though it has been lower 
many times). Last summer the sunbirds showed no inclination to 
breed. They are both very tame, as are most Malachites, and until 
this spring were not pugnacious to the other inmates. Nor were they 
aggressive to each other which is most unusual with Malachites and 
many other sunbirds. However, in April, 1964, they were in magnifi¬ 
cent condition—fitter than I have ever seen Malachites before. The 
mild winter and daily access to the outside flight with plenty of midges 
to hawk perhaps made all the difference. 

Whilst I was on holiday in early May, my husband noticed the cock 
Malachite chasing the Paradise Flycatchers, which are larger birds in 
every way. Those who have kept Malachites will know that when these 
sunbirds are really fit they will attack most birds. He caught the 







K. M. SGAMELL-BREEDING THE MALACHITE SUNBIRD 


159 


Malachites up and transferred them to a small planted flight measuring 
6 ft. 3 in. by 3 ft. 3 in. by 6 ft. 3 in. high which led into a 6 by 6 by 7 ft. 
high cedar shelter itself divided into four small sections each opening 
into similar flights. In the first flight is a mature bamboo which I 
transplanted last year. We had this aviary in reserve for the first pair 
of sunbirds which came into full breeding condition and these 
happened to be the Malachites. Into the shelter we placed a supply of 
feathers, fine grasses and kapok. Almost immediately the hen sunbird 
started carrying the grass and in a day or two had made a start 
towards building a bulky nest in the bamboo. On 14th May, on a 
fine sunny morning, the nest was beginning to take some shape from 
all the materials supplied with masses of kapok exposed to whatever 
weather was to follow the fine spell. My husband thought it a good 
idea to construct a clear plastic roof over the nest and fastened the 
polyglaze to the roof of the flight. There was great excitement beneath 
with both birds flying wildly about and all nest building ceased. The hen 
certainly didn’t like the covering which she pecked at so it had to be 
removed. It seemed that the first shower would swamp the flimsy 
and almost unprotected nest but as events proved later, the hen knew 
better. I returned from holiday on 17th May, and as the nest was 
making little progress, decided to add teased packing string cut in 
6 inch and 9 inch lengths, to the other material. The string was readily 
used by the hen in large amounts to anchor the purse-like affair to the 
various stems of the growing bamboo. There was very heavy rain on 
the 19th but nest building continued slowly until about 4th June by 
which time we had supplied handfuls of kapok which would be used 
up within a day or so. The hen seemed to be sitting closely on 6th June 
with her head poking out of a hole on the topside of the domed 
structure which was at last completed. All this time the cock had 
supervised the work in which he took a deep interest but no part. He 
frequently chased the hen when she slackened her building efforts and 
his display with head thrown back and wings extended and with the 
tail moved from side to side was repeated at intervals throughout the 
days. 

On 7th June the hen was off the nest for a moment and I was able 
to see an egg quite clearly through the entrance hole, it may have 
been there a few days earlier. The egg was quite large, very dark 
brown at one end and tapering down through a pale grey/green to 
an off-white at the pointed end. She sat with her head poking out 
and completely indifferent to either of us or the occasional camera, 
day after day, the cock remaining on his perch at the other end of the 
flight. On the morning of the 15th at 7.45 a.m. she was off the nest 
for a few minutes and I had a quick look at the nest expecting to see 
a second egg, but there was still only one. About 5 p.m. the same day 
I observed the hen feeding a chick which was clearly seen. I saw it 


i6o 


K. M. SCAMELL-BREEDING THE MALACHITE SUNBIRD 


later about 7 p.m. as the hen was not brooding continuously. We 
placed ajar of broad bean tops loaded with black-fly in the flight and 
in the shelter a biscuit tin containing over-ripe fruit and banana skins 
which were well inoculated with fruit flies. I don’t think the black 
fly were touched. On the 16th I searched the roses for greenfly but 
without success. The weather was very cool. Around the garden and 
in the wooded area surrounding it, I collected some aphis from 
“ cuckoo-spittle ” which is found on long stems of grass, among the 
bracken, on blackberry bushes, on honey-suckle, and on the underside 
of hazel nut leaves, etc. It was a long slow job but at such an early 
age in the development of the chick, I was able to keep up with the 
demand ! On the 17th I continued collecting the aphis and a friend 
brought in a further supply of fruit flies, etc., which I added to the 
stock in the shelter. 

The next day was very wet and cold, about an inch of rain fell, so I 
set the thermostat controlling the heater tube in the shelter to 75 0 F. 
and shut the door. I followed the same collecting programme on the 
19th which was again wet and cold. On Saturday the 20th, I had a 
look inside the nest. The chick was surprisingly large, had a short 
whitish beak, body dark, and almost naked. We both worked hard all 
day until dark collecting the large aphis but we had now given up any 
pretence of removing them from the “ spittle ” which anyway tended 
to disappear in about 20 minutes which was the time it took to collect 
about two dozen. On arriving at the shelter with the collecting dish 
the hen would come charging through the pop-hole from the flight on 
to a perch and stand waiting for the shelter door to open and the dish 
to be placed on a shelf! It would help itself to about a dozen of the 
aphis, picking them from the remains of the “ spittle ” so that its beak 
would be partly open with a row of the insects from root to tip of the 
bill. It would then fly to the nest, cling on, and deliver the row of 
aphis into the throat of the gaping chick, a matter of 2 or 3 seconds, 
say 30 seconds in all. After a few minutes the remaining twelve to 
fourteen aphis would be fed to the youngster in like manner. The 
results of 20 minutes work would have disappeared and I can only 
assume she made do with fruit flies until I returned. My diary records 
that on the Sunday, 21st June, we had a busy day from 7 a.m. to 
9 p.m. trying to keep up supplies. The weather was still cool and we 
had several other birds with young, such as both pairs of Spreos, 
Shamas, and a pair of Shelley’s Starlings so there was plenty to do 
one way and another. On the 22nd and 23rd, still in coolish weather, 
we continued as before but the heated shelter was now taking effect on 
the fruit fly cultures and substantial numbers were being produced 
which helped with the feeding. On 29th June the cock was observed 
feeding with one aphis at a time ! The next day our garden seemed 
to be clear of aphis so I placed a small piece of raw meat in the shelter 




K. M. SGAMELL-BREEDING THE MALACHITE SUNBIRD l6l 

and opened the door. This quickly attracted some flies so I shut the 
door. The flies then made for the closed window which was protected 
with 1 inch netting and the hen Malachite stood on the netting and 
picked them off the window ! It was quite simple and I repeated the 
procedure frequently throughout the day. It was certainly a change 
from the arduous job of collecting aphis ! In the cool of the evening 
it meant collecting more aphis which had now begun to re-appear, 
but it eased the work. 

On the morning of the 27th the young Malachite seemed to be 
weak and listless but the day was hot and both parents fed flies and 
aphis. At about 9.30 p.m. two pots containing about sixty aphis were 
left in the shelter but somehow it did not seem that the supply of live 
food was going to be enough. The hen was not feeding or brooding 
and seemed to be more interested in the cock which was still in perfect 
breeding condition. From past experience with other breeding birds 
I realized that the parents were losing interest in the chick and were 
likely to start another family. They were too fit, the food supply 
came too easily. I netted the cock and placed it in a cage in my 
hummingbird aviary which is out of sight and probably out of earshot 
of the hen. At 7 a.m. next morning I shut the hen in the shelter and 
examined the young bird in its nest in the flight. It was in a bad 
way—the beak was stuffed with teased out string. I removed the 
chick from the nest and took it indoors. We then cut off some of the 
string with scissors and slowly pulled up what seemed to be endless 
strands at the end of one of which was a fly ! The bird had every 
appearance of being unfed for some hours and this was now under¬ 
standable. I next returned the bird to its nest, released the hen from 
the shelter and also returned the cock to the aviary. Both parents 
ignored the chick ! At this point I almost gave up but after breakfast 
I decided to hand-feed the bird with the usual plunger type feeder, 
something I have never been very successful at. I always respect 
those people who take hand feeding in their stride ! However at this 
moment I saw the hen clinging to the nest feeding once again so I 
left well alone ! 

During the next few fine days all was well, the hen feeding regularly 
with beakfuls of live food and the cock making a lot of fuss about the 
odd contribution he made to the feeding. The hen only removed the 
sac containing the droppings. I had to enter the flight a few times to 
cut away some of the strands of twine which were coming loose from 
the nest which was now beginning to show signs of wear and tear. 

On Wednesday, 1st July, the young bird left the nest at about 
10 a.m., the sixteenth day after it hatched. I returned it to its nest but it 
was out again at 3 p.m. and returned voluntarily at about 8 p.m. A most 
unusual occurrence for a softbill if one can call a sunbird such. It 
looked very much like the hen—the beak had grown quite a lot and 


62 


K. M. SCAMELL-BREEDING THE MALACHITE SUNBIRD 


was about half the size of an adult’s beak and similar in colour. The 
bird itself was about three-quarters the size of the hen and similarly 
marked but a shade darker in colour. Both parents fed the bird 
throughout the day and it flew fairly well but without much direction. 
The next morning the chick did not leave the nest until about io a.m. 
and was out all day looking tight and sleek. It returned to the nest 
about 8 p.m. As the parents were competing with each other in the 
feeding, often breaking up a fly in the process and moreover knocking 
the chick about in their efforts to be the first to feed, I caught up the 
cock once more and removed him to other quarters as before. Peace 
was restored. 

The next day, 3rd July, a heavy thunderstorm broke about 3 p.m. 
but the youngster had already returned to the nest before the light 
had become really bad. At 8 a.m. on the 4th I saw the young 
Malachite drinking nectar for the first time and during the day it 
drank frequently. It returned to the nest on and off all day and the 
hen was brooding it at 8 p.m., the pair of them completely 
filling the nest cavity. The young bird was now as large as its mother 
but its beak was about two-thirds adult size. On 5th July the young 
bird had found its way to the shelter. The night had been very cool 
and so had some of the day and the young bird was in and out of the 
nest drinking nectar very frequently. On the 7th it was seen to catch 
small flying insects itself though it gaped to be fed. The night of the 
7th-8th was very rough, with rain and high winds. The hen was very 
soft and had obviously been sleeping in the flight. The young bird was 
very tight and had probably slept in the shelter or nest. I shut them 
both in the shelter and later on the hen had recovered. Between the 
9th and 19th July the weather was very sunny and hot and I was now 
satisfied the young bird was feeding itself so I removed the hen from 
the flight and placed it with the cock in their original aviary with 
Paradise Flycatchers and Diamond Doves. Both parents were in a 
moult and the cock was now in his winter plumage. At the time of 
writing, 20th August, the young bird is now fully grown, has moulted 
a few feathers about the head. About a week ago I introduced a hen 
Violet-backed Sunbird to the aviary. This bird had been freshly 
imported and from past experience I had found the species rather 
vicious. However, they seem to agree. The immature Malachite is 
really like an adult hen except for the darker upper plumage and 
there will be uncertainty in regard to its sex until it really moults out. 

As described, Mrs. K. M. Scamell has bred the Malachite Sunbird 
JVectarinia famosa. It is believed that this may be a first success. 

Any member or reader knowing of a previous breeding of this species 
in Great Britain or Northern Ireland is requested to communicate at 
once with the Hon. Secretary. 



CHARLES EVERITT-BREEDING THE HOOPOE 1 63 

BREEDING THE HOOPOE 

By Charles Everitt (Trenton, N.J., U.S.A.) 

The Hoopoe is one of the birds that has been mentioned and illus¬ 
trated for hundreds of years, its image being depicted in ancient Greek 
and Egyptian mural paintings, and it is referred to in the Bible as the 
Lapwing. Legends have been built around this bird, one being that, 
after King Solomon had been shaded by the wings of a flock of Hoopoes 
from the glaring noonday sun, he rewarded the birds with crowns of 
gold. People coveted these, and an incessant persecution of the Hoopoe 
was maintained to secure it. Tired and weary of this continual oppres¬ 
sion, the birds asked the King to take the crown back. This he did, 
replacing it with a beautiful fan-shaped crest. A further legend, of 
European origin, affirms that the Hoopoe was the form assumed by 
Jereus, King of Crete, as an atonement for his past sins. The fame of 
the bird, however, was not confined to legend, for many references in 
literature have been made to its use in magical and medicinal pre¬ 
scriptions. These were mainly for afflictions of the sight or memory, and 
use of different parts of the bird’s anatomy were recommended by 
various scribes from the early Egyptian days down to the Pharmacopoeia 
Universalis by Dr. R. James (1752). 

The nominate race, Upopa e. epops , has an extensive range, wintering 
in the Mediterranean countries and Asia Minor, passing its breeding 
season throughout Central Europe, including the south of England. 
There are at least four other races ranging through Asia, these including 
U. e. orientalis of northern India ; U. e. longirostris of Burma and 
neighbouring areas ; U. e. ceylonensis of southern India and Ceylon, and 
U. e. saturata of Mongolia. The differences in the races consist of 
variations in the markings, size of crest, and length of bill. There are 
also two other members of the family of Upupidae in Africa, Upopa 
africans of East Africa and U. senegalensis of West Africa. 

The species with which I am concerned here is U. e. longirostris , 
pairs of which were received at various times by Mr. Boehm from 
Burma and Thailand. The sexes are very similar, the main colouring 
consisting of black, white, and pinkish-brown. They are about 12 
inches in total length, 2J inches of which may be accounted for by the 
thin, slightly decurved bill. The head and the fan-shaped crest are 
pinkish-brown, the crest feathers increasing in length from front to rear 
and being broadly tipped with black. The back and sides of the neck, 
and the shoulders, are a dull ashy-fawn, the remainder of the back 
being banded broadly in black and fawny-white, these bands extending 
across the wing-coverts. The quills of the wings and tail are black, the 
primaries having a white band across their tips, the secondaries with 
three or four white bands evenly spaced throughout their length. The 


64 


CHARLES EVERITT-BREEDING THE HOOPOE 


black tail has a single chevron-shaped white bar across the centre. The 
chin is whitish with the throat and upper-breast being pale pinkish- 
fawn. The remainder of the underparts is white, extensively streaked 
with black and ashy-grey except for the under tail-coverts which are 
clear white. The bill is horny black, lighter at the base of the lower 
mandible ; the legs and feet are slate-grey, and the iris is reddish- 
brown. They have an extremely short tongue, taking all their food, 
mainly insects, by probing with their long bill, grasping it, and flicking 
it back into their mouth. The wings are rounded and their flight is slow 
and undulating, rather butterfly-like. The main visual difference in 
the sexes lies in the length of the bill and the size of the crest, those of 
the female being slightly smaller in both cases. Whether it is a definite 
sex indicator or not I would not like to say, but I have noticed that, 
with the pairs in the Boehm aviaries, the males appear to have nine 
pairs of black tipped feathers in their crest, whereas the females have 
but seven pairs. Any comments on this would be welcomed. 

The crest lies back over the head but is raised whenever they become 
excited, and also when they are feeding. It is a pleasing sight seeing 
them walking on a lawn, they are very sociable and confiding birds, 
probing in the grass, each probe being accompanied with an elevation 
of that fascinating crest. They have a soft, mellow call note, a repeated 
“ hoop-hoop ”, from which their common name undoubtedly derived. 
Although it sounds very pleasant when one is observing them, I can 
assure you that it can become very irritating when there is a flock 
of them on your lawn during the heat of the afternoon, when you are 
trying to take a few moments of sleep, as I experienced during my 
years on the plains in India. 

There had been attempts by Hoopoes at breeding in the Edward 
Marshall Boehm aviaries from i960 onwards, with the exception of 
1962, which was not a particularly good breeding year for anything. 
Both in i960 and 1961 a pair did produce eggs, but in each instance 
the female died after having laid three eggs. As the same male was 
concerned each time, he was given a rest and a new pair, the male 
coming from eastern India in December, 1961, and the female from 
Thailand in June, 1962, were released into the Tropical aviary during 
July, 1962. This is a large aviary, planted, as its name implies, with 
palms, banana and olive trees, tropical cacti, ferns, and flowering plants 
and has a stream, fed by a waterfall, running in an irregular course 
around the inner limits. Due to the type of vegetation, a minimum 
temperature of 60 degrees is maintained throughout the year. Many 
other birds shared this with the Hoopoes, such as Blacksmith Plovers, 
Sun Bitterns, White-collared Kingfishers, Azara Manakins, Plumbeous 
Redstarts, Paradise Flycatchers, Black-tailed and Gould’s Trogons, 
Scarlet-chested Sunbirds, and Indian White-eyes, just to mention 
some of them. 




CHARLES EVERITT BREEDING THE HOOPOE 1 65 

A 12 inch thick, 10 feet high tree stump, with a fairly large hole in 
it at about 8 feet up, had been positioned in the aviary for use of such 
birds as the Trogons or Hoopoes, if they should decide to go to nest. 
It was in May, 1963, that the female Hoopoe was seen going in and 
out of this nest hole, which incidentally, led to a hollow about 9 inches 
in depth and 8 inches in diameter. During the period 18th to 22nd 
May, four eggs were laid but they all proved to be clear. They were 
pale blue, completely unmarked, and measured, on the average, 25 by 
16 mm. In June she started again, this time laying five eggs by the 19th. 
Again, four were clear but the other did hatch on 3rd July. 

Except for the fact that a tiny live object could just be discerned at 
the base of the nest hole with the aid of an electric hand-torch, little 
more information can be given as to whether there was any nestling 
down or not. However, by the time the chick was nine days old it 
could be seen that it was feathering up in greyish-fawn and that it did 
have a dark, thick bill, about § inch in length, the gape being margined 
in white. By another seven days the feathering closely resembled that 
of the adults, even to the black-tipped crest, and the bill had taken on 
the long, thin, curved shape of the older birds, but it was much shorter, 
not more than an inch in length. At this time the parent birds spent 
most of the daylight hours out of the nest, paying it regular visits to 
feed the nestling. Although it vacated the nest for a brief period on 
25th July, it was not until the following day that it finally fledged. 
A complete replica in general form of its parents, except that the colour 
tones were softer, the crest not so full, neither was the bill as long. It 
finally attained independence on 3rd August, and has since shown 
itself to be a male. 

During the incubation period and early brooding days, seemingly 
carried out by the female only, the male was most conscientious in his 
attendances upon her. Their diet was comprised entirely of live-food in 
the form of mealworms, crickets, moths and other insects and grubs 
foraged in the aviary, plus ground raw beef. The male seemed to make 
a habit of taking four feeding trips to the nest, then something for 
himself, then back to the nest again, repeating this series of operations 
about three times each hour. Whenever the female seemed to feel he was 
overdue with the rations she would poke her head out of the hole 
and make a plaintive “ hoop-hoop He would promptly reply and, 
in a matter of seconds, would be there with something for her to eat 
or feed to the nestling as the case might be. 

Contrary to my expectations, having scented Hoopoe nests at 200 to 
300 yards distant in India, there was a negligible smell connected with 
this nest. This may have been due to there being but one chick, as 
compared to the normal three or four in the wild, or maybe they had 
become civilized in their lush surroundings and did carry out a certain 
amount of nest sanitation. It is owing to their habit of never cleaning 


1 66 B. E. REED-A NEAR MISS WITH A SCARLET-CHESTED SUNBIRD 


the nest of the excreta of their offspring that they are regarded as 
unclean by the natives of India, and are left entirely unmolested. 
Although I have no particular desire to have the unpleasant odour 
permeating through the beautiful aviaries, laid out in such a natural 
style by Mr. Boehm, I do hope that another season may produce a 
nest full of young Hoopoes. 

Editor's Note .—It is greatly regretted that, owing to an error, the 
above article on Breeding the Hoopoe was not published before the 
article on the Breeding of the Thailand Hoopoe by Kenton C. Lint. 
The first breeding of this sub-species must be credited to Mr. Edward 
Marshall Boehm and Mr. Charles Everitt. 

* * * 

A NEAR MISS WITH A SCARLET-CHESTED 

SUNBIRD 

By B. E. Reed (Wednesbury, Staffs., England) 

This article is of an interesting experience we had early this year with 
Scarlet-Chested Sunbirds (Chalcomitra senegalensis gutturalis) in our 
birdroom. I should perhaps explain at this point that “ we ” includes 
my partner Mr. A. Holmes. 

Our birds are housed in what almost amounts to a semi-greenhouse 
approx. 16 feet long by 8 feet wide by 6 ft. 6 in. to the eaves and 
7 ft. 6 in. to the apex. The birds are kept in pairs in small indoor flights 
or large cages. We have only experienced serious fighting with the 
Scarlet-Chested Sunbirds and I think you will agree that we speak 
from experience, having kept fifteen or sixteen different species of 
sunbirds. The room is thermostatically controlled at 6o° F. min. (This 
was raised to 70° when the sunbirds had laid in order to increase our 
supply of fruit flies.) 

The birds are fed on a Nectar Recipe as used by the late Cecil Webb 
and is made up as follows :— to the making of 1 pint, 6 teaspoons of 
Baby Food, 2 teaspoons Condensed Milk, J teaspoon Haliborange, 
4 teaspoons Glucose, and 2 teaspoons Honey. This is changed about 
2.30 p.m. and is substituted by a mixture of 1 dessertspoon of 
“ Stimulite ” and 1 dessertspoon of honey to 1 pint of water. (These 
mixtures are only approximate and are varied daily as they must get 
differences in the wild state.) The main source of live food given to our 
sunbirds throughout the year are fruit flies and occasional spiders. 
Slices of sweet fruit are occasionally given to those sunbirds that will 
eat them. 

The Scarlet-Chested Sunbirds were imported by us from Portuguese 
East Africa in March, 1962. We have tried to pair them up many times 
but serious fighting always broke out after a couple of days. On 
8th February, 1964, these two birds were placed in a flight indoors 



B. E. REED-A NEAR MISS WITH A SCARLET-CHESTED SUNBIRD 1 67 

approx. 2 ft. g in. square by 6 feet high. They immediately began 
fighting and the cock was removed. 

It was noticed soon after that the hen was bickering with a pair of 
Kirk’s Black Sunbirds in the next compartment. So a large piece of 
cardboard was fastened up to prevent this. An artificial nest of grass, 
which was put up in the flight with the hen, was immediately destroyed 
by her. The cock was introduced to her again on the 23rd March, 1964, 
and apart from a bit of squabbling all was quiet. Within a couple of 
days she was seen to be attempting to get through the wire netting into 
a seedeater flight. We guessed that she wanted to get to one of the nest- 
boxes and one was given to her. She began building almost immediately 
and the materials used were canary nesting material, bits of grass and 
moss. (Cobwebs were refused.) It was lined with scraps of paper off 
the floor. The nest was very deep and had a porch over the entrance. 
The nest-box was an old cardboard nut and bolt box with the corner 
ripped out. The nest was completed on the 10th April, an interesting 
point being that she would only build when the sun was shining. 

The display consists of the cock flicking his tail from side to side 
while singing continuously. He also holds the wing which is furthest 
away from the hen in a curious position (dropped, with the shoulder of 
the wing held out and the wing itself curved almost into an arc.) The 
hen will then open and shut her wings continuously and raise her tail 
(this is vibrated rapidly up and down). Mating then takes place. 

When about to lay it was noticed that she caught more insects than 
usual, possibly in order to form the egg shells. She was seen to be sitting 
on the 21 st April and one egg was seen in the nest on the 26th April. 
It was cream, heavily blotched, and streaked with greyish-brown, 
especially towards the larger end. It was quite pointed and was about 
18-5 to 19 mm. long by 13*5 mm. wide. (Two infertile eggs laid since 
confirm this.) 

The youngster is believed to have hatched on the 6th May as the hen 
was noticed catching large amounts of fruit flies. On the 8th May, the 
hen was seen hanging on the front of the box feeding her offspring. It 
was covered in white down and the inside of the mouth was white. 
It also had an extremely wide gape. About this time the hen was seen 
searching the cracks in the flight for spiders, and it must be stated that 
the feeding was carried out almost entirely on these, the hen taking 
approximately sixty to one hundred spiders per day. The youngster 
was fed at first by regurgitation but in the later stages the spiders were 
killed and fed whole. On 14th May the inside of the youngster’s mouth 
was seen to be changing to yellow. It had also begun to feather up. 
The droppings were removed from the nest three or four times per day. 

On the 16th May the cock sunbird was removed from the flight as 
the birds were seen attempting to mate again. 

On the 17th May the hen was seen to be in a distressed condition. 


1 68 NORMAN McCANCE-PHEASANTS AT THE SYDNEY ROYAL SHOW 

(We think now that she had not been taking any food herself but had 
been feeding it all to the youngster.) She was, therefore, placed in a 
hospital cage for five hours and she recovered. During this time we 
hand-fed the young bird with freshly killed spiders and fruit flies. About 
g p.m. on that evening she was trying to get out of the hospital cage and 
upon being released into the flight she went into the nest and sat on the 
young bird. 

The young bird left the nest on 26th May at approximately 5 p.m. 
As its flight feathers were not developed it was returned. It promptly 
left again. This was done three times and eventually it was left out. 
It was progressing well and its flight feathers were opening slowly when 
it suddenly refused to feed on the 31st May, although the hen kept 
trying to feed it. It died early on the morning of the 1st June. We think 
that it is possible that it died of shock as we had two very bad thunder¬ 
storms at night on the 29th and 30th May. 

We think that the slow development of its flight feathers may have 
been due to our inability to provide enough live food in the first few 
days of its life. 

We have found that any hen sunbirds in breeding condition will show 
this by filling the nectar bottles with any scraps of paper, straw, etc. 
they can find. The building, feeding, and incubation, was carried out 
entirely by the hen. 

At the time of writing (6th June) the hen is pulling the nest to pieces 
and we shall introduce the cock to her again in another week. 

In conclusion we should like to thank all the people who helped us 
by collecting spiders, especially Mr. Alan Lavender who, although a 
Non-Fancier, collected in the region of three to four dozen per day. 

* * * 

PHEASANTS AT THE SYDNEY ROYAL SHOW 

Norman McCance (Avonsleigh, Victoria, Australia) 

To judge the pheasants at the Easter Show in Sydney at the invitation 
of the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales, I travelled 
1,000 miles (there and back) by car ; left it parked with 50,000 other 
cars outside the vast show grounds ; mingled, and was nearly mangled, 
among 300,000 Good Friday visitors ; and left a bit of my heart with 
Sydney, one of the world’s most fascinating cities. 

In Australia we have fifteen different species of pheasants kept in 
aviaries, with no prospect of increasing the number of species, because 
of the ban on importations of all birds and eggs, for fear of Newcastle 
disease introduced to poultry. Having regard to the lack of any new 
pheasant “ blood ” since 1932, we seem to have kept what we have got 
in pretty good shape and condition, without noticeable signs of in- 
breeding. 



NORMAN McGANGE-PHEASANTS AT THE SYDNEY ROYAL SHOW 1 69 

Only on King Island, a small part of Tasmania in Bass Strait, an 
hour’s flight from the Melbourne airport, are pheasants available as 
game birds. This is due to the happy circumstance of no foxes being 
introduced to the island. These pheasants are all wild-bred, and are 
hunted with dogs for shooters who fly from as far away as Brisbane 
(1,600 miles) for the fortnightly open season in June. About 2,000 cock 
Ringnecks are shot in that season ; no hens. 

At the Sydney Royal Show, forty-three pairs of pheasants were 
exhibited. The only available species not shown were the very high- 
priced rareties, the Siamese Firebacks, Edwards, and Cheers. A few 
pairs of each of these survive, but they are increasingly difficult to rear, 
probably owing to in-breeding. As their prices range around £50 
a pair, they appear too valuable to risk showing. 

None of the birds shown was in perfect condition, owing to the very 
late moult coinciding with a very early Easter. Only six days later than 
its earliest possible date, Easter Sunday fell on March 28 ; had the full 
moon reached its fullness 11 hours 11 minutes later than it did, Easter 
Sunday would have fallen on April 5 ; and that extra week would have 
perfected the plumage of most of the birds shown ! 

Lady Amherst’s were resplendent, as usual. The Australian standard 
is very high, owing to careful breeding from English Amhersts imported 
from Huddersfield, Yorkshire, about 1925. The champion Amherst 
cock shown by the religious order of the House of David in Sydney 
was practically perfect : snowy breast and flanks, blue face, correct 
crest, splendid ruff, and long clearly-etched tail. Also, the best Goldens 
were beyond reproach. We are lucky in Australia in having very few 
Golds with Amherst blood (and luckier still vice versa). By careful 
feeding on a diet rich in vitamins and minerals the show Goldens were 
both iridescent and wonderfully rich in colouring. 

“ Best bird in the show ” was adjudged to be a Silver cock. It won 
by a very narrow margin from the Golden and Amherst champions, 
mainly on its condition ; but also because of its exquisite markings, 
rivalling the delicacy of the old Chinese embroideries. This is rare in 
Silvers. 

Reeves’s were represented by only one pair, far from perfect, in the 
moult. They gave promise of much better colour and size in maturity. 
Swinhoe’s were excellent types of high quality but mutants lacked the 
solid blackness and iridescence necessary for top ranking. 

A pretty problem gave the judge a headache in the “ any other 
variety ” class, where five pairs of Goldens were shown, each cock 
having exactly the same yellow bar across the upper breast (though 
otherwise 24-carat). They could have been condemned as mongrels ; 
disqualified as out of their proper class among Goldens, where they 
would have been disqualified anyhow ; or hailed as very interesting 
examples of xanthism, or yellowness in the mutation range that 


170 CHARLES EVERITT-BREEDING THE JOYFUL GREENBUL 

includes albinism (whiteness), melanism (blackness), or erythrinism 
(redness). 

The judge ruled in favour of xanthism in the firm belief that, properly 
developed, this mutation might lead to the yellow-breasted Gold bred 
by Professor A. Ghigi in Italy. His belief was not confirmed by a letter 
written to the Ornamental Pheasant Society of Australia (Mr. E. A. 
Eldridge) by M. Jean Delacour who insisted that our yellow-barred 
Goldens were showing the taint of Amherst blood. 

The judge at the Sydney Royal asks pardon from M. Delacour for 
entire disagreement with him. The honourable and venerable President 
of the Avicultural Society of America ruled without knowledge of our 
birds’ breeding. 

* * * 

BREEDING THE JOYFUL GREENBUL 

By Charles Everitt (Trenton, N.J., U.S.A.) 

A member of the Bulbul family, the Joyful Greenbul —Chlorocichla 
1 . latissima —comes from Africa, where it may be found in a com¬ 
paratively restricted area ranging from north-eastern Congo, through 
the Sudan, to Kenya. It has a most melodious song but also possesses a 
harsh, staccato alarm note, which it is subject to give vent to at the 
slightest provocation. About 10 inches in total length, the sexes are so 
similar in appearance that, to sex an individual bird, presents quite a 
task. The upper plumage is golden-green, the head feathers being dark 
centred, giving it a scaly effect. The underparts are golden-yellow, 
more intense at the throat, forming a distinct patch. The only difference 
we have noticed in the sexes is that the throat patch is less extensive in 
the female, and the underparts in general are not as bright as those of 
the male. These observations have been made on one pair only, so they 
may not be at all conclusive. 

There is a subspecies, Chlorocichla l. schoutedeni, which is found from 
the eastern Congo to south-west Tanganyika. It is slightly larger than 
the nominate race and is a brighter green, the underparts also being 
green with a yellowish wash. 

A pair of the former species was received by Mr. Boehm in August, 
1961, from the well known collector the late Cecil Webb. After a period 
in one of the pens in the main bird-house, early in 1962, they were 
released into a planted aviary that also contained Royal and Spreo 
Starlings, Red-eyed Bulbuls, Scarlet Cocks of the Rock and Plumbeous 
Redstarts, pairs of each. They settled down well in their new environ¬ 
ment and it was then that the beauty of their song could really be 
appreciated. So far as we are aware, no attempt to nest was made 
during that first year. It may appear strange that I employ the phrase 
“ so far as we are aware ”, but the reason for this is that, when they did 



CHARLES EVERITT-BREEDING THE JOYFUL GREENBUL I 7 I 

go to nest, the site was not revealed until such time as there was a 
nestling. 

It was late in July 1963 that they began to get very excited whenever 
anyone entered the aviary, flying in and out of the overhanging trees, 
chattering incessantly. Nevertheless, they did not come down for any 
of the live-food placed in there, at least not whilst we were present. 
However, on 25th August, from another aviary one of them was 
observed carrying a moth into one of the dense bushes and coming out 
empty billed. Then, during a temporary lull in the general bird noises 
always evident in an aviary, a faint cheeping was heard. On examina¬ 
tion of this bush, carried out under a veritable bombardment of protest 
cries by the Greenbuls, an open, cup nest containing one nestling was 
found. It was obvious at a glance that it was a young Joyful, for the 
colouring so closely resembled that of the adults. It was almost fully 
feathered and, to hazard a guess, was about one week old. The gape 
was bright orange, margined in pale yellow. 

When it left the nest six days later, the upper plumage was green with 
a brownish wash, the underparts being pale yellow, washed with green. 
Both parents fed the fledgling, varying the diet between live-food and 
fruit, but seldom attempting to do so while any of us were in the 
vicinity. It grew rapidly, finally attaining full independence on 
18th September, although, prior to that date, it had been seen feeding 
on its own. Now, at six months old, it is identical to its parents, 
favouring the male in its call note and overall colouring. 

Unfortunately, owing to the tardiness in locating the nest, it is not 
possible to supply any data as to the size or colour of the eggs, nor as to 
how many made up the clutch. The nest had been constructed of 
Spanish Moss, rootlets, and fine grasses, was about 9 inches across the 
top with a central cup about 2J inches deep. Maybe there will be an 
opportunity of gleaning information concerning the eggs, and further 
details of the nestlings, if they decide to breed again this year. If such 
is the case a report will be made on these items in due course. 


❖ * * 




172 M. F. COUPE-NEW TROPICAL HOUSE AT CHESTER ZOO 

THE NEW TROPICAL HOUSE AT CHESTER ZOO 

By M. F. Coupe (Section Officer, Chester Zoo) 

The Tropical House is 240 feet long, 200 feet wide, and 40 feet high 
in size, and is constructed mainly of reinforced concrete and sandstone. 
Translucent sheeting is used as extensively as possible for the roof and 
sides, to allow the maximum amount of light penetration. Included in 
the building are the Reptile House, Nocturnal House, and Pigmy 
Hippo, Gorilla, and Orang Utan enclosures, as well as vast accommoda¬ 
tion for free-flying birds and spacious aviaries. The whole construction 
is on two levels, with a large ramp between the two and numerous 
pathways wind their way amidst profuse tropical vegetation. When 
walking round the house, visitors can view the birds in flight and from 
all angles, and seats are provided for those who wish to bird-watch in 
comfort. 

A tropical and sub-tropical rain forest have been recreated as 
closely as possible—the temperature varying in different areas to suit 
the particular animals exhibited there. The temperature at ground 
level in the centre of the house averages 70° F. and the humidity is 
70-75 per cent but at the upper level the temperature is slightly higher 
and the humidity somewhat lower. The house has been planted with 
trees, shrubs, and flowering plants—all thriving well and growing fast 
under these ideal conditions. 

Over 250 birds of seventy species have complete freedom within the 
confines of the house, enabling visitors to observe them in surroundings 
similar to their natural habitat. Hummingbirds and sunbirds are a 
special feature and our many species are doing extremely well. Also 
at liberty are Touracos, African Starlings, Bluebirds, Zosterops, 
tropical finches and many other species. Numerous nectar bottles and 
feeding tables are provided and fruit for the larger birds is skewered 
onto branches located throughout the house. To help the general 
public to identify the birds many species are depicted in coloured 
illustrations. Eventually it is hoped to have illustrations of every 
species exhibited, but in the meantime a list of all the free-flying birds is 
given to each person entering the house. 

A row of aviaries included at ground level is designed principally to 
house the Toucans, Barbets, and Hornbills, which cannot be mixed 
with the other birds at liberty. Also in these aviaries are Go-away 
Birds, Rollers, Weka Rails, Quetzals, and a Flicker. There is another 
row of aviaries at the top of the ramp, in the upper level, which are now 
empty but are reserved for a collection of Birds of Paradise—due to 
arrive in the near future. All the aviaries are planted to resemble the 
natural environment of the birds. 


Avicult. Mag. 



[To face p. 172 


The New Tropical House at Chester Zoo 













Avicult. Mag. 



Copyright ] 


[John Markham 


Cecil Stanley Webb 
Whipsnade, 1952 


[To face p. 173 




IN MEMORIAM-CECIL STANLEY WEBB 


173 


IN MEMORIAM—CECIL STANLEY WEBB 

The suddent death of Cecil Webb on 10th April, 1964, at his home in 
Nairobi, Kenya, at the age of sixty-six, has robbed field zoology and 
aviculture of an outstanding personality. It has also brought a profound 
sense of personal loss to his many friends who held him in the highest 
esteem and affection. 

His early days were passed in his father’s home in Essex, where he 
and his brother Leslie ran a poultry farm, specializing in Buff 
Orpingtons and exhibiting them with great success. Both brothers 
were imbued with the spirit of adventure, and shortly before the first 
world war they sold their farm and went to South Africa, where they 
became overseers on an experimental farm in the bush veldt. Here, in 
addition to learning the care of cattle, mules, donkeys and pigs, the 
brothers were introduced to ostrich farming. Some aspects of this were 
exceedingly dangerous, especially when the birds had to be caught to 
have their feathers plucked. It was here that Webb got his first glimpse 
of the wonderful bird life of South Africa—Hornbills, Rollers, Bee-eaters 
and Glossy Starlings, besides coming into daily contact with the various 
antelope and other game which strayed on to the 10,000 acre farm. 

This ideal life was interrupted by the declaration of war in August, 
1914, and the partnership was broken, Leslie being made manager 
of a ranch and Cecil being hastily equipped with horse and rifle and 
ordered to be prepared to fight rebels against the South African Govern¬ 
ment. After the campaign against the Germans in South-West Africa, 
he volunteered for overseas service in a regiment of heavy artillery, 
where he was rejoined by his brother. The regiment, the 71st Siege 
Battery, consisted of 6 inch howitzers and was the first South African 
unit to arrive in England for service on the Western Front. 

It was at this point, in June, 1916, that I first met the man who was 
to become a lifelong friend. I was Regimental Medical Officer to a 
group of batteries and made daily visits to the 71 st which was dug into 
a camouflaged position in a little orchard at Mailly-Maillet, near 
Albert, in readiness for the great battle of the Somme which started 
on 1st July, 1916. In the autumn of that year, after the advance up 
the Ancre, the 71st was moved to the Ypres salient, and for some years 
we lost sight of each other. 

Webb’s first venture into the animal-collecting business was made in 
September 1919, when he brought back to England a large number of 
South African birds which he and his brother had collected in the 
Transvaal. He disposed of them to the livestock department of a big 
London store, and being pleased with the success of his venture, cabled 
his brother to bring home another consignment. He then returned to 
the Transvaal and applied himself to trapping birds of all kinds, 
including many rare insectivorous birds such as Burchell’s Crimson- 


*74 


IN MEMORIAM-CECIL STANLEY WEBB 


breasted Shrike, Thrushes, Sunbirds, and Lapwings. It was then that 
he started to experiment with various forms of synthetic foods to 
replace the birds’ natural diet. 

After this expedition he tried to settle down in England, but the urge 
to travel and collect was too strong. This time he went to Bechuanaland, 
Rhodesia, and Portuguese East Africa and started in real earnest to 
become an animal collector. He brought most of his collections to 
the London Zoo and gave them the first choice of rarities, while the 
rest went to private collectors, notably the late Mr. Alfred Ezra, the late 
Mr. John Spedan Lewis, and M. Jean Delacour. It was at the latter’s 
suggestion that he made an expedition in 1927 to Annam in Indo- 
China, where he collected many rare Thrushes, Babblers, Pittas, and 
Bee-eaters. One bird he managed to establish was La Touche’s Owl 
which had never been brought alive into captivity. There were also 
many pheasants, including Rheinhardt’s, Edward’s Blue, Fire-back, 
and Ghigi’s Peacock Pheasant. Most of these birds went to 
M. Delacour’s aviaries at Cleres. 

It would be impossible to enumerate in detail his many expeditions, 
but one of the most important was in 1929, when he went with M. 
Delacour to Madagascar and returned to the London Zoo with, among 
many other specimens, an Aye-Aye, a highly specialized Lemur. The 
Zoo had not seen one of these exceedingly rare and interesting animals 
since one imported in 1862. 

For some time I had been urging him to visit British Guiana to try 
to bring back specimens of that curious prehistoric-looking bird, the 
Hoatzin. In 1921 I had myself, following William Beebe’s instructions, 
found a thriving colony of these birds on the Canje Creek. I described 
this to him and told him how to get there. I had only been able to 
bring back skins for the British Museum but Webb got five live birds 
which he fed on fresh caladium leaves, gradually weaning them on to 
lettuces. When he returned with his collection, which included Sloths, 
Tapirs, Cock of the Rock, and Humming Birds, the five Hoatzins were 
alive. Unfortunately three died of cold during the journey home and 
one only survived for a day after arrival, but the remaining bird was 
in perfect condition and lived in the Zoo for some months. This was 
the first time a Hoatzin had ever been brought into and kept in capti¬ 
vity anywhere in the world. 

During the 1930’s, expeditions followed to Kenya, Tanganyika, 
Australia, the Gamerouns, India, the Gold Coast, and Ecuador, and 
on five of these expeditions he was accompanied by his niece, Delys 
Webb, who helped him to feed and care for his collections. 

Then, in the summer of 1939, he went for the third time to Madagas¬ 
car. War was declared and for six years he was marooned in this great 
island, at one time without news of the outside world for two and a half 
years. He was forced, through lack of funds, to take to the jungle 




IN MEMORIAM-CECIL STANLEY WEBB 


175 


where he could live for next to nothing. The list of creatures he captured 
and preserved during his enforced stay would take many pages, and 
his adventures when the Vichy Government took over and the island 
became a German satellite make interesting and exciting reading, 
especially the part he played in the British invasion of the island. This is 
all described in his autobiography A Wanderer in the Wind (Hutchinson). 
His entire collection of skins of lemurs, rodents, insectivores, and birds 
was purchased by Sir John Ellerman, who presented them to the 
British Museum. 

When Webb eventually succeeded in getting a letter through to me 
at the end of the war, I arranged for him to travel to Mombasa and 
pick up a load of animals which various friends of the London Zoo had 
got together to help restore its depleted collections. These included the 
African Elephant “ Dicksi ”, a Baringo Giraffe, baboons, monkeys, 
antelope, lions, and snakes. He was able to get a passage on the 
S.S. City of Calcutta which was bound for Liverpool, but at his suggestion 
I succeeded in getting the ship diverted to the Port of London, which 
cut several days off the voyage and eliminated the railway journey 
from Liverpool to London. 

Soon after his return, the Zoological Society appointed him Curator- 
Collector and he immediately went back to Kenya in the winter of 
1945-46 to bring home an even larger collection—eighty-seven 
mammals, 150 birds and two large pythons. The mammals included 
six Giraffes (three of them reticulated) and a Black Rhinoceros. Most 
were finger-tame for he found that tame animals had much more 
chance of survival on a long journey. 

In February, 1947, he visited British Guiana for the second time and 
brought back a representative collection of South American species, 
including a Harpy Eagle and many Humming Birds. There was yet 
one more trip for him—to the British Camerouns, where he was successful 
in capturing and bringing home a bird equalling the Hoatzin in rarity— 
a Grey-necked Picathartes, the first ever to be brought into captivity. 
This bird lived for several years in the Tropical House at Regent’s Park. 

He was, more than anyone, responsible for re-stocking the London 
Zoo and Whipsnade after World War II. In all he had made over 
twenty major expeditions to every part of the world in search of animals. 
On his return from the Camerouns he was appointed Curator of 
Mammals and Birds at the London Zoo but retired from this post 
for personal reasons in 1951. In April of that year he married a great 
friend of ours, who was to share thirteen years of absolute happiness 
with him, for Daisy Burlington-Green proved an ideal companion who 
shared his interest and love for all living creatures. Shortly after 
leaving Regent’s Park he was appointed Superintendent of the Dublin 
Zoo, where he made many improvements, but after five years he became 
restless again and decided to return to the warmth of Kenya. For a 


176 


IN MEMORIAM-CECIL STANLEY WEBB 


time he and his wife settled on a small estate at the foot of Mount 
Kenya, to which they became very attached, but they had to sell out 
under the Land Settlement Scheme, so they moved to Nairobi where 
he was given a Curatorship at the Coryndon Museum, a post he held 
until his untimely death. 

In my opinion he was one of the greatest animal collectors of all time. 
For forty years his life was devoted to the capture, handling, and care 
of wild animals, for which he possessed a unique gift. It must be 
remembered that his collecting was done before air transport for 
animals came into common use, and it was amazing to see the perfect 
condition in which he would deliver the smallest and most delicate 
creatures after many weeks of travel by land and sea. 

The Webbs were never happier than when they had a house full of 
unusual pets. One of the most attractive wild creatures they reared 
from birth was “ Horace ”, a wild Irish Hare, about which he wrote 
a delightful little book, A Hare About the House (Hutchinson, 1955). 
In his last letter to me, written only a fortnight before his death, he 
told me of their latest pets : 

“ A Pearl-spotted Owlet, 3 inches high, amazingly tame and loves 
being held. One of our greatest joys is a Ruppell’s Robin-chat who 
sits in a hedge close to the house and mimics everything in a loud 
voice. His repertoire includes the calls of Kites, Fruit Pigeons, Red¬ 
chested Cuckoos, Paradise Flycatchers, Bee-eaters and many others, 
also human whistles and songs of his own composition. ” 

All his life he did the things he wanted to do, with determination, 
courage, and immense skill and care, and he died in the country he 
loved and among those creatures he had made his lifelong friends. 

Geoffrey Vevers. 

Whipsnade 
June , 1964. 



JEAN DELAGOUR-CALIFORNIA AVIARIES 


r 77 


CALIFORNIA AVIARIES 

By Jean Delacour (Cleres, France) 

Because of the favourable climate of California, and probably also of 
the way of life there where most people have the use of a garden, more 
birds are kept and reared around Los Angeles than perhaps in any 
other part of the United States or even of the world. But we seldom 
read much about them, as most of their owners are either too busy, or 
too reluctant to write. Only Mr. A. H. Isenberg and Mr. D. West take 
the trouble to report to this magazine. A few others give some news of 
their birds in the American (Los Angeles) Avicultural Bulletin, but not 
to any great extent. 

I have spent nine years in California (1952-1960) as Director of the 
Los Angeles County Museum, and I still go there every winter for a 
couple of months, so that I do not lose touch with the local aviculturists. 
As the Honorary President of the Avicultural Society of America, I 
usually attend its yearly Christmas dinners and one or two monthly 
meetings. Furthermore, I stay most of the time with either of two close 
friends, Mr. Ray Thomas and Mr. W. J. Sheffler, who have large 
collections and know much about birds, but who never write ... I 
think therefore that a few lines on their aviaries and those of some other 
prominent collectors may be in order. 

Most kinds of birds are kept in California. Pheasants, Partridges, 
Quails and other game birds are reared in quantities, as well as Water- 
fowl. Parrots and Parrakeets are particularly popular. Many Pigeons 
and Doves, Finches and Waxbills breed freely. A number of people 
keep mixed collections, and a few possess remarkable series of fruit and 
insect eating species. The San Diego Zoo, of course, maintains a very 
large and beautiful collection of all sorts of birds and propagate many 
interesting ones under the care of an able curator Mr. K. C. Lint. 

What I shall try to depict here is the recent achievements of a few 
aviculturists who have been for several decades very skilful and 
successful with different birds, but who seldom or never have recorded 
it in print. 

The roster of aviculturists in California is subject to many changes as 
years pass. A number take up birds, often at once on a big scale, either 
as amateurs or as professional breeders; they may be lucky and prosper 
at first, but most of them soon become discouraged and give it up as 
quickly as they have started. There are however many happy excep¬ 
tions to this rule! 

* * * 

Mr. J. W. Steinbeck, of Walnut Creek, near Concord, north of San 
Francisco, is the only professional breeder whom I know who has made 
good and prospered for perhaps over forty years. It is true that he is a 


1 7 8 


JEAN DELACOUR-CALIFORNIA AVIARIES 


real bird lover and a good gardener, and that he also owns orchards 
which contribute to his income. His aviaries are roomy and numerous, 
disposed on a semicircle around a large expanse of grass dotted with 
fruit trees, at the back of his house. Each pen is against a solid partition 
and has a deep shelter, and several trees. Every one of them houses a 
number of pairs of wild pigeons and doves, and a pair of pheasants: 
Monals, Tragopans and Peacock Pheasants of several species. A 
number of Crown-Pigeons and Nicobars are there, three of the former 
(■ Goura coronata ) and several of the latter have been reared in recent 
years, as well as many Satyrs, Temmincks, Monals, Grey, Germains, 
Palawan and Bronze-tailed Peacock-Pheasants. Of the smaller 
pigeons and doves, Mr. Steinbeck has produced every year hundreds of 
many species, some very rare. He also keeps several Crowned Cranes 
in the garden, a pair of Blue and Yellow Macaws, and a number of 
Australian Finches and Waxbills in special aviaries. I have known 
Mr. Steinbeck, and have acquired birds from him, for more than 
thirty years. I take the same pleasure in visiting his establishment and 
discussing birds with him today as I did long ago. I hope to be able to 
do it again for some years to come. 

* * * 

Mr. Frank E. Strange lives alone at Redondo Beach, near the ocean, 
to the south of Los Angeles. A retired bank employee, he has been for a 
long time the best breeder of Quails and Partridges in the world. He 
has great knowledge and experience, and a very keen and unselfish 
interest in those birds. His collections changed along the years as he is 
continually acquiring species never kept before, which he practically 
always rears for the first time in captivity. His installation consists of 
many compartments, more or less 15x10 feet, and 6 feet high, with 
long grass (no shrubs), boxes and perches, each for a breeding pair. The 
eggs are mostly incubated by bantams, but reared in brooders with wire 
bottomed runs. His techniques and care are such that he seldom fails 
to raise the young. Here is the list of the species reared in captivity by 
Mr. Strange during the last twenty years : 

Partridges : 

Chinese Bamboo, European Grey, Red-legged, Barbary, Chukar, 
Capueira ( Odontophorus ), Stone ( petrosus ), See-See ( bonhami ). 

Francolins : 

Sharpe’s {clappertoni) , Erckel, Bare-throated {leucocepus) , Crested 
(. sephaena), Double-spurred (bicalcaratus) , Close-barred ( adspersus ), 
Kirk’s ( rovuma ), Hildebrandt, Red-winged ( levaillanti ) from Africa ; 
Grey ( pondicerianus , 2 races), Black (francolinus) , Swamp (gularis) from 
India. 





JEAN DELAGOUR-CALIFORNIA AVIARIES 


*79 


Quails : 

Mountain, Mearns, Masked and Red Bobwhites, Colombian 
Crested, Douglas, Gambel, Blue Scaled (2 races) from America ; 
Jungle Bush ( Perdicula asiatica ), Painted Bush (P. irythrorhyncha) , Chinese 
(C. chinensis) , from India ; Swamp (ypsilophorus) from Australia ; 
Harlequin, Cape from Africa ; Painted and Red Spurfowl, from India 
(the Ceylon Spurfowl has been reared by Mr. Suthard at Long Beach.) 

Mr. Strange has also bred repeatedly the Green Junglefowl from 
Java and the Crested Tinamou from Argentina. 

Mr. William J. Parsonson, of Paramount, is known mostly for his 
successful keeping and breeding of Waterfowl. But he also rears 
Pigeons, Doves, Tinamous and Sonnerat’s Junglefowl. He is a true 
lover of birds and plants, and I remember meeting him as a boy of 
fifteen already dedicated to those hobbies. As an engineer working full 
time for the County of Los Angeles, he is a busy man, but nevertheless he 
finds enough leisure to look carefully after his birds. He has a large 
collection of ducks in a big, wired-over enclosure, and rare geese, each 
pair in a pen; also Black Swans. Grass is hard to grow in a dry climate, 
but judicious feeding makes up for it. His greatest triumph has been the 
breeding of a male Kelp Goose, a unique achievement to this day, 
which he hopes to duplicate this year. He keeps a pair of this difficult 
species in perfect condition on a diet of high protein and alfalfa pellets, 
with the addition of some iodine to the food or to the water. He also 
rears every year big broods of Orinoco and Andean Geese, some 
Peruvian Crested Ducks, Ashy and Ruddy-headed Geese, Common 
Shelducks and Laysan Ducks, to list only the rarer ones. 

Mr. Harold Rudkin, at Fillmore, carries on with his family tradition. 
Some of us keep a fond memory of his father, who lived to be almost a 
centenarian ; he was a remarkable aviculturist, first in England, and 
later on in California. He has a magnificent collection of parrots and 
parrakeets, the gem of which are a pair of Spix Macaws and a beautiful 
lutino (P. menstruus ) Pionus, all yellow and pink. He rears every year a 
lot of young birds, a good many of which, particularly Macaws, 
Cockatoos and Grey Parrots are produced from eggs incubated under 
bantams, the young being hand-fed from birth. Mrs. Rudkin’s help 
in this matter is very important, and the birds so reared are naturally 
extremely tame. Among them, in 1963, were two Red-tailed Black 
Cockatoos. 

Apart from the Parrots, Mr. Rudkin keeps small birds, fruit-eating 
and others, such as Fairy Blue birds, Cocks-of-the-Rock and Tanagers, 
and some Pigeons, Game birds and Waterfowl. Recently several 
Victoria Crown Pigeons, Nicobars, Imperial Fruit Pigeons, Mountain 
Witch Doves, Black and Black-necked Swans, various Peafowl, 
Ocellated Turkeys and Ceylon Junglefowl have bred successfully at 
Fillmore. 


l8o JEAN DELAGOUR-CALIFORNIA AVIARIES 

Mr. W. J. Sheffler built, forty years ago, a beautiful circular aviary, 
with sixteen compartments radiating around a central shelter, all solid 
masonry and steel frames, in the garden of his home at the foot of the 
Baldwin Hills, in a central part of Los Angeles. Next to it is his private 
museum, which contains a considerable collection of bird skins, mostly 
from Mexico. The aviary still is in good shape, and well filled. There 
are a number of Parrakeets and Parrots, Pheasants, Quails, Francolins, 
Doves, Touracous, Tanagers and hundreds of Finches. His greatest 
rarities are half a dozen of the beautiful Rosita’s Bunting (Passerina 
rositae) from S. W. Mexico, a bird larger than the well known Indigo 
Bunting, a lighter blue, with the breast pink degrading to buff in the 
belly in the male ; the female is light brown. Quite a number of 
birds have been reared in Mr. Sheffler’s flights along the years, one 
of his greatest successes being the breeding of the Vermilion Tyrant 
Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus). He had much larger series of Parrots 
and Parrakeets, game birds and ducks first in the southern part of Los 
Angeles, and later on at Salome, Arizona ; but those aviaries have 
been abandoned some fifteen years ago after the retirement of the 
attendant. They are now used by another amateur. 

* ❖ * 

I was happy, as always, to spend a few days at Ross, to the North of 
San Francisco, with my old friends Mr. and Mrs. Eric Kinsey. Mr. 
Kinsey retired a few years ago and disposed of his larger place at Manor, 
where they had long kept so successfully practically all the native 
Californian birds, even the most difficult ones. Their new home has 
only one bird room where some 80 birds, mostly native, live in cages, 
but also a few exotics such as Clarinos, Solitaires, Shamas and Fruit- 
suckers. Their skill in caring for difficult species, and the perfection of 
their cages still are unsurpassed. 

* ❖ * 

Mr. Ray Thomas possesses, in his fine and large garden at Bel Air, 
the best collection of small birds in California, and also very fine 
parrots and parrakeets. They are housed in a bird room, five large 
flights, two of them planted with trees, 18 smaller ones with shelters at 
the back, and 6 more in a transformed greenhouse. Most of the smaller 
aviaries are reserved for parrots, but one contains two beautiful and 
very rare males of the Banded Cotinga (Cotinga c. maculata) from 
eastern Brazil, a present from Dr. E. Beraut ; the gleaming blue of the 
plumage is magnificently contrasted with the silky plum colour of the 
throat and lower breast. Another compartment is inhabited by a 
number of small Waxbills and Parrot finches, and a third one by a pair 
of Rothschild’s Starlings. Among the parrakeets which live in the other 
pens must be mentioned Crimson Wings, Kings, Queen Alexandra’s, 
several other Australian species ; Queen of Bavaria’s Conures ; lutino 




JEAN DELACOUR-CALIFORNIA AVIARIES 1 8 I 

and blue Ringnecks. A pair of bluish Ringnecks imported from India 
five years ago, have produced pure blue offspring as well as bluish ones. 
There are also a Hyacinthine Macaw, a Hawk-headed Parrot and a 
bronze-winged Pionus (P. chalcopterus ). 

The five large aviaries are the homes of hundreds of small and 
medium sized birds. So many are kept together that fighting between 
them is discouraged and seldom occurs. Many species and individuals, 
which would readily kill one another under other conditions, live 
happily together, and losses are much smaller than the average bird 
keeper would expect. As the birds are most carefully fed and the 
aviaries very clean and well kept, they do not suffer from overcrowding. 
Of the three smaller aviaries, which are nevertheless 25 x 30 feet or 
bigger, one is full of Finches, small Starlings, Bulbuls, small Troupials, 
large Tanagers, Thrushes, Robins, Babblers, South American Buntings, 
Sparrows, Weavers, Whydahs, etc.; even a Pitta and a Cock-of-the 
Rock live there. Some belong to species seldom kept such as the 
Grey Starling ( Cosmosparus unicolor ), the Indian Stare ( Saroglossa 
spiloptera ), and several South American Buntings : Pselliphorus tibialis , 
Arremon taciturnus , Poopsiza torquata and P. whitei. 

Another aviary, large and planted, is stocked with innumerable species 
of small Tanagers, Sugarbirds, Waxbills and other little birds, and some 
bigger ones, among which Amethyst and Emerald Starlings, several 
Fruitsuckers and Babblers. The third one has Fairy Bluebirds, Blue- 
throated Toucanets, different Asiatic and South American Barbets, 
large Tanagers, Orioles, Troupials, Bellbirds and Starlings. 

The two larger flights are full of bigger birds. One shelters the 
stronger ones : Pink-crested, White-cheeked and Purple-crested 
Touracous ; Toco, Greenbilled and Sulphur-breasted Toucans ; 
Lidth’s and various Mexican and South American Jays and Magpies. 
The other one accommodates over a hundred Touracous (Knysna, 
Senegal and Schutti), Jay-Thrushes, Spreos, Glossy Starlings, Mynahs, 
Troupials, large Barbets, Toucanets, Thrushes and other medium sized 
species. It is a remarkable show, and a successful one when one 
considers the great number of species thus associated. During the weeks 
I have just spent with Mr. and Mrs. Thomas, as I do every winter 
since my retirement, I thoroughly enjoy this large and excellent 
collection of birds. Mr. Thomas also most kindly keeps for me, until 
the spring comes to Europe, the various birds that I cannot resist 
buying when I am in California. 

There always have been good bird shops there. Many have gradually 
disappeared along the years. But new ones have opened. A number of 
retail dealers around Los Angeles have interesting birds at present, 
and one wholesale man, Roy Marshall (M. and M. Bird Ranch, 
Monrovia) always shows a large assortment of species from all over the 
world, some very unusual. Those from the Americas, particularly 


182 ROBERT A. COPLEY-HOODED MERGANSERS-REARING PROBLEMS 

Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Costa Rica and Mexico are particularly 
attractive and advantageous like also those from Japan and China 
(Hong-Kong), as they come direct to Los Angeles. 

In my late years, I feel just as excited at the sight of rare birds to be 
acquired and just as unreasonable as I have ever been since my early 
years. 

* * * 

HOODED MERGANSERS—REARING 
PROBLEMS 

By Robert A. Copley (Hemingford Grey, Hunts, England) 

In the spring of 1964 the two pairs of Hooded Mergansers nested, 
one pair in a box in a high bank of grass and the other laid in several 
boxes. 

The eggs of No. 1 were collected carefully and turned everyday until 
nine had been laid ; they were then put under a specially selected 
bantam ; in 32/3 days they hatched. Care had been taken to apply an 
overhead heating lamp every time the bantam came off. 

Different methods were tried to induce them to feed, a cellophane 
bag with two tubes in it for the maggots to emerge did not seem to 
interest them so a maggot was threaded onto a needle and cotton and 
swung in front of the youngsters who immediately showed great interest 
and in a few hours they were catching and eating the flying maggots. 
Four young were eating on the second day and the whole five eating 
and drinking on the third day. This was rather a laborious way of 
feeding and soon it was found that the young jumped at the maggots 
as they were being threaded. 

It was an extraordinary sight to see these difficult feeders fighting 
for the maggots as they were threaded onto the needle. This dispensed 
with the cotton and for the next four days they voraciously consumed 
a quart of maggots and some mealworms. This was so unexpected 
that the maggot supply had to be doubled. 

At seven days they started picking up maggots and mealworms on 
their own, but still preferred the food presented from above them 
when they would actually have a tug-of-war if two happened to seize 
the same maggot. If the long needle was held horizontally two or 
three would swing on the needle trying to pull off maggots. 

This hatch did not have a weakling though one did have an eye 
blocked up which was opened in warm soft water and was in working 
order soon afterwards. 

In six days the young had doubled in size and instead of feeding eight 
times in twenty four hours the period was reduced to six ; this made 
night feeding 11 o’clock, 4-5 o’clock, 8 o’clock. The feed at 2 a.m. 
ceased on the fourth day. 





ROBERT A. COPLEY-HOODED MERGANSERS-REARING PROBLEMS 1 83 

It was extremely lucky to find a completely docile and friendly 
bantam that did not mind the daylight heating lamp on day and night. 
The young, even when only a few days old, stretched and sunned 
themselves in the rays of the heater while the poor bantam panted. 
Directly maggots were started to be threaded they would all five begin 
plucking my hand and the maggots on the needle. One or two got 
pricked and promptly went under the bantam but returned before 
the feeding was over. They could be fed while sulking in this way. 

Some seized the needle as well as the maggot and became very 
dangerous dashing about with a long lance pricking the bantam and 
the other birds before being disarmed. It was fortunate that no damage 
was done to others. 

At fourteen days old they were quarter grown and were eating bread 
and milk with eggs, sand, and fishmeal, but a large number of maggots 
were consumed every day. 

Three of the other four fertile eggs of the second pair hatched ; one 
a week early and it only lived twenty-four hours. One died in its shell 
and one hatched only with considerable help. These had to be fed 
every two or three hours and the flying maggot principal did not 
provoke the immediate response as it did with the other five. 

Unfortunately the bantam in this case took every flying maggot it 
could. This appeared to discourage the one remaining youngster as 
much as it did the feeder. So it had to be done by hand with tweezers 
every two hours night and day for a week. At a fortnight the youngster 
was still boarded for food and lodging and looked like being a guest for 
a long time and had not grown appreciably. 

Bantam and young were allowed in fine weather (May) into the 
garden where the young picked up leaves and tried to eat them ; any¬ 
thing brown interested it particularly a leaf blown by the wind. But put 
a maggot or mealworm beside the leaf and it would promptly turn its 
back. At a week or ten days old this young bird was very little bigger 
than when first hatched and on the fourteenth day was found on its 
back dead. 

The first pair laid again eight eggs and the female was allowed to 
start the incubation, but it was felt that this was too risky so the eggs 
were given to a bantam. All of the eggs were fertile and in due course 
hatching started. Two died in the shell, two died the same day, two 
lasted three days, one lasted five days, one continued taking flying 
maggots for five days and then lost interest. Every two hours it was 
fed but died about ten days later. All this was a great disappointment. 

The second pair laid again and the eggs were collected late in May 
and put under a good bantam and the same conditions were followed 
as in the first batch. All except one were infertile and that one was 
broken by mistake. 

The first five birds went on to open water at three months old and all 


184 c. J. O. HARRISON-NOTES ON THE RUFOUS-BREASTED DUNNOCK 

fed from one’s hand. They like bread, milk, eggs, maggots and chick- 
crumbs, and fish from the lake. They are entirely free and mix with 
the other five older birds quite happily. 

Certain lessons have been learnt but there are still more to learn 
before the breeding of these wonderful waterfowl can come under 
some planned control. 

* * * 

NOTES ON THE RUFOUS-BREASTED DUNNOCK 

(Prunella strophiata ) 

By C. J. O. Harrison (Perivale, Middlesex, England) 

Dunnocks are rarely imported, and there has been little opportunity 
to study any species other than our own common Dunnock, Prunella 
modularise which is better known to some by the older and less apt name 
of Hedge-sparrow. During part of 1962 and 1963 I was able, through 
the kind help of John Yealland, to make some observations on two 
Rufous-breasted Dunnocks, P. strophiata. This species occurs in India 
where it is found on the Himalayas on open rocky ground or among scrub. 

In a garden aviary with a shelter shed I found that they were terres¬ 
trial feeders but otherwise spent much of their time in branches or on 
the higher ledges on the inside walls of the shelter. They were secretive 
and shy and difficult to observe since they tended to crouch motionless 
or hide when disturbed. If one’s approach had been noticed it could be 
safely assumed that they would be found in the other part of the aviary 
or round the other side of a bush, waiting quietly for one to go away. 
As a result of this it was impossible to study their feeding in any detail. 
They ate some mealworms and gentles and seemed to find minute 
objects of interest on the floor of the flight, but I am pretty certain that 
they also ate a great deal of seed, mostly millet. They were quite hardy 
and seemed indifferent to the cold weather of the awful winter of early 

I96 3- 

They were in general similar to the common Dunnock in their 
appearance, but looked a little longer in the leg, with a more hunched 
look about the head and shoulders. Most of the plumage was light 
brown with dark-brown streaking, and this extended over the back, 
wings, top of the head, and flanks ; but there were some conspicuous 
patches of colour. The sides of the head were blackish, bordered below 
with white, and above by a black-edged superciliary stripe. This had 
two distinct parts, the anterior part from the bill to just over the eye was 
narrow and pale cream in colour, the hinder part from the eye to the 
nape was much broader and of a bright orange-chestnut colour. When 
the bird was active and the plumage sleeked the anterior part was more 
noticeable as a pale streak, but when the plumage was fluffed up a 
broad orange posterior stripe suddenly became very conspicuous. The 


C. J. O. HARRISON-NOTES ON THE RUFOUS-BREASTED DUNNOGK 1 85 

throat was white, streaked with pale grey, and the breast and fore¬ 
flanks were orange, which in one bird deepened to a more tawny 
chestnut tint, raising hopes that the sexes might be different. The belly 
and under tail-coverts were white. 

The sexes are said to be alike, and throughout the time that I had 
them neither bird gave any indication of sexual behaviour, and 
I finally suspected that both were hens. I received the birds at different 
times, and when the second arrived the first was already established in 
the aviary. Immediately the second bird was introduced, the first 
approached it in a crouching posture and then chased it. This 
crouching posture was obviously aggressive and was seen several times 
during that day. The bird crouched with belly to the ground, tail 
uptilted, and head thrown back a little with bill pointing up. In this 
posture it displayed frontally to the other bird the contrasting orange 
breast and white throat, as well as the bold head pattern against a back¬ 
ground of darker plumage. Aggressiveness rapidly decreased and within 
a few days was no longer apparent. 

Apart from this single occasion the two birds showed little specialized 
posturing. Wing-flicking did occur when they were nervous or excited 
but this appeared to be less frequent and less apparent than in the 
common Dunnock. What was more noticeable at times of excitement 
or alarm was a marked momentary quivering of the tail in a vertical 
plane, in a manner rather reminiscent of the Redstart Phoenicurus 
phoenicurus though not so vigorous as in that species ; a movement 
which I had not noticed in the Dunnock. This quivering occurred 
during utterence of the alarm call, when it appeared to be related to the 
force with which the call was given. But it also occurred when the birds 
were silent but mildly disturbed. 

Both birds were rather silent. The note given when they were dis¬ 
turbed, which might have been a contact note or indicated mild alarm, 
was a dry “ trit-it-it ”, more like that of a Bunting than a Dunnock. It 
appeared to correspond to the “ si-si-si 55 call of the common Dunnock. 
The more intense alarm of excitement call was a rapid repetition of a 
series of loud notes “ tic-tic-tic-tic ”, midway in pitch between the 
alarm call of the Robin, Erithacus rubecula , which it closely resembled, 
and that of the Wren T. troglodytes. This usually indicated that there 
was a cat somewhere in the vicinity of the aviary. This note appeared to 
correspond to the loud “ seee ” note of the common Dunnock. The 
latter were present in the garden about the aviary and their song could 
be heard by the captive birds. The wild Dunnocks did not respond to 
the sight or calls of the birds in the aviary and the Rufous-breasted 
Dunnocks did not respond to the sight, calls, or song of the wild common 
Dunnocks. The difference in colouring and voice appeared to be 
sufficient to prevent recognition and there was no evidence of any 
interspecific reaction. 


1 86 CHARLES EVERITT THE MASKED WOOD SWALLOW 

Although they were kept with a pair of Jay-thrushes and various 
seed-eaters the Rufous-breasted Dunnocks did not appear to arouse 
any reactions and did not conflict in any way with the other birds. 
Possibly their inoffensive furtiveness and rapid movements prevented it. 
There might have been some difference had other small and mainly 
insectivorous species been present. 

* * * 

THE MASKED WOOD SWALLOW 

By Charles Everitt (Trenton, N.J., U.S.A.) 

The Masked Wood Swallow —Artamus personata —is one of the 
Artamidae family, there being seventeen species in all, fourteen of which 
are confined to the Australasian area, the others being found in Asia 
and Africa. In some regions in Australia they are referred to often as 
Swallow Shrikes and, in others, as Blue or Bush Martins. Gregarious 
in their habits, often associating with the White-browed Wood 
Swallow— A. superciliosis —(see A.M. i960, 229), they generally collect 
in the southern parts of Australia during their breeding season, ranging 
from August to January. 

The sexes are dissimilar, the adult male being slate-grey above, with 
a jet-black face mask and throat patch, the latter edged with white. 
The underparts are pale silver-grey, the tail being forked with the 
feathers tipped with white. The underside of the wings is very pale 
silver-grey, almost white. They have short, black legs and a sturdy 
powerful bill, also black. They are about 8 inches in total length, 
representing, with the White-browed, the two largest species of the 
family in Australia. The female, of the same size, lacks the black face 
mask and throat patch, these being replaced by very similar markings 
in dark grey. The remainder of the plumage is duller than that of the 
male, the under-parts being a smoky-grey. 

Although in their native habitats normally they select low bushes or 
trees for the location of their open, cup-shaped nests, in the planted 
aviary a pair shared with White-bearded Honeyeaters, Cedar Wax- 
wings, and Ruby-throats, despite many admirable nesting sites, they 
chose a most conspicuous position in one of the feed stands. It was a 
trough about 9 inches long by 3 wide, the sides being 2 inches high and, 
normally it held three feeding cups. In this case, however, only two 
cups were used and the swallows began building in the little 3 by 3-inch 
square left. Actually the pair had been received by Mr. Boehm, direct 
from Australia, in April, 1962, and nested in the same position that 
very year, but failed to rear any young, undoubtedly due to their not 
having been fully acclimatized. In order to provide more room, and to 
avoid interference from the other birds at feeding time, the cups were 




CHARLES EVERITT-THE MASKED WOOD SWALLOW 


l8 7 


removed and placed elsewhere in the aviary. A nest of fine twigs and 
rootlets was completed within three days and the first egg was laid on 
13th March with a second the following day. Incubation, which was 
shared, lasted for a period of twelve days and began with the laying of 
the first egg. The eggs measured 21 by 15 mm., were light greyish- 
green, clouded and blotched with shades of brown and underlying 
spots of grey. 

The newly hatched chicks were very dark skinned, covered with 
grey down, streaked with sooty-black. Their gapes were pale yellow. 
As the nest was so shallow and it was felt that a danger existed of chicks 
being ejected or dragged out of it, a wire frame was fitted around it, 
raising the height to about 3J inches. The parent birds resented our 
intrusions in a very physical manner, swooping down and striking us 
continually whilst it was being put in place, but went straight back to 
their young as soon as we got out of the way. As with the incubation, 
the rearing was shared, live-food being the sole diet seen to be employed 
during the nesting period. A wide variety of this was provided in the 
form of mealworms, crickets, and whatever flying insects it had been 
possible to trap by the use of night-lights. These last, however, were at 
a minimum for, at that time of the year, they are not very plentiful. 
Quill feathers were showing and their eyes were open at six days old. 

Vacating the nest at fourteen days old, they were fairly strong on the 
wing for fledglings, and immediately portrayed the characteristic of 
the adults at feeding time by switching their tails from side to side as 
they begged for food. It was now that the parent birds began to vary 
their diet by introducing them to the ground raw beef and the chopped 
fruits, as a supplement to the live-food. The colouring of the young 
birds was basically grey, heavily flecked with sooty-black, except for 
the flight and tail feathers which were plain slate-grey. One of them 
showed much darker face markings than the other and it was assumed, 
correctly as it turned out, that there was one of each sex. All subsequent 
breedings have shown the same difference, thus revealing that they are 
sexable as soon as they leave the nest. Actually, it had been noticed 
whilst they were still in the nest, the difference being apparent at about 
eleven days old. 

They were independent at thirty days old and adult plumage finally 
was acquired at six and a half months old. In all, they had four rounds 
that year, 1963, rearing seven young, four male and three female. In 
each instance the young birds had to be removed as soon as the female 
went to nest again as the male began to chase them around. Most 
gregarious in the non-breeding season, it has been found that, with 
aviary birds at least, once they decide to go to nest they do not want 
any other Wood Swallows around. 

Since we lost our original White-browed Wood Swallow males but 
have two females left, it was decided to pair the young Masked males to 


*5 


1 88 J. J. YEALLAND LONDON ZOO NOTES 

the female White-browed with the hope of, eventually, by selective line 
breeding, producing a visual White-browed male. The outcome of this 
experiment, begun in 1964, will be subject of a separate paper at a later 
date although I can say that, at the moment, June, 1964 we do have 
three fine hybrids, fully independent, and the parents are sitting again. 
It does look as though there may be one male and two females 
amongst them, but it is too early to be sure on this point as, since they 
are hybrids, it is not known to what extent the face markings will differ 
in the sexes. As stated above, a full paper on this hybridizing will be 
produced once the birds have acquired full adult plumage, and it is 
hoped that 1965 will see the commencement of phase two, pairing of 
one of the male hybrids back to its mother, endeavouring to lessen the 
influence of the Masked in the final colour pattern. 

* * * 

LONDON ZOO NOTES 

By J. J. Yealland 

Arrivals during June and July include a number of interesting birds 
presented by Dr. K. G. Searle. These are four Red-thighed Falconets 
(Microhierax caerulescens burmanicus ), two Falcated Teal, five Little 
Egrets, one Eastern Cattle Egret, one Eastern White-breasted Waterhen, 
one Watercock, two Chinese Necklace Doves ; the following bulbuls : 
three Chinese ( Pycnonotus s. sinensis ), two Chinese Red-eared (P. j. 
jocosus), two Chinese Red-vented (P. aurigaster chrysorrhoides) , one 
Brown-eared ( Hypsipetes amaurotis ), one White-headed Black Bulbul 
(.H . madagascariensis leucocephalus) , and a Black-naped Oriole. The 
falconets are of a race new to the collection : there are two races of 
this species, the nominate one living in parts of India and Assam and 
burmanicus in Burma, Shan States, Siam, and Annam. Small birds and 
mammals, beetles, butterflies, and dragon-flies are among the natural 
foods and the nest is generally in a disused barbet or woodpecker hole, 
three or four white eggs forming the clutch. 

Two new African species have been presented by Messrs. G. H. and 
J. R. Newmark. These are the Abyssinian Crimson-wing ( Cryptospiza 
s . salvadorii ) and the Oriole Finch (. Linurgus olivaceus). 

Other acquisitions of particular interest are eleven immature Rosy 
Flamingos ( Phoenicopterus r. ruber), thirteen Kittiwakes, a White-crested 
Hornbill of the race from Ghana, Berenicornis albo-cristatus macrourus, 
and a Blue-backed Chlorophonia ( Chlorophonia cyanea). 

When the breeding pair of Sarus Cranes nested, the two eggs were 
sent to Leckford where one chick hatched and is so far thriving. A 
second clutch was laid, one weakly chick hatching and living for about 
a week. As crane chicks can be reared by domestic hen foster mothers, 
the practice of taking at least the first clutch should certainly be tried 
in the case of the rarer species. 



NEWS AND VIEWS 


189 

Four ErckePs Francolins and three Sonnerat’s Jungle-fowl chicks 
are being reared by their respective mothers : one Mealy Rosella has 
left the nest and a second clutch is being incubated. 

In 1962 a pair of Masked and a pair of White-throated Jay-Thrushes 
were put into the Waders’ aviary where they have lived ever since. In 
that year the Masked built a nest and laid, but the eggs did not hatch. 
This year three nests were built and in one a chick of the Masked has 
been reared, not entirely by the parents as it appears, for whenever 
they were not near, one of the White-throated sat on or by the nest. 
Whether the chick was fed by all four birds is not known and the height 
of the nest and the density of the privet bushes in which it was built 
made it difficult to see what exactly did go on, but the incubation of 
the egg or eggs seemed to be done entirely by the hen Masked and the 
others did not interfere until the chick or chicks hatched. One of the 
nests is believed to have been built by the White-throated and this was 
in a willow tree, but so far as is known no eggs were laid there. 

Last year a pair of wild Herring Gulls, evidently attracted by those 
living in the Southern Aviary, stayed behind in the spring and nested 
on the high rockwork of the adjoining sea lions’ pond, rearing three 
chicks—the first record of wild Herring Gulls nesting in London. This 
year a pair nested on the rocks and a second pair on a wide ledge that 
runs round a ventilation turret on the nearby Ostrich House, each pair 
rearing one chick. 

A Sclater’s Crested Guineafowl [Guttera edouardi sclateri) collected by 
the late Cecil Webb in British Cameroon during 1948 has died. 

The Secretary has drawn attention to the erroneous use of the name 
c Lady Gould’s Finch ’ to describe the Gouldian Finch. The tanager, 
Calospiza nigrocincta franciscae, named in honour of a Mrs. Wilson, is 
sometimes similarly treated. Another case is that of Estrilda rhodopyga , 
originally described by Sundevall and often called Sundervall’s Waxbill 
even by some who should know better. One sees strange names in the 
advertisements, but there is perhaps some excuse for the Indian dealer 
who used to offer Verditer Flycatchers and regularly called them 
Vertical Flycatchers. 

* * * 

NEWS AND VIEWS 

The degree of Master of Science (Honorary) was conferred on 
G. S. Mottershead, Director-Secretary, Chester Zoological Gardens, 
by Manchester University, on 9th July, 1964. 

* * * 

Lawrence W. Cahill, Superintendent, Paignton Zoological and Botani¬ 
cal Gardens, has been appointed Curator, Calgary Zoological Gardens 
and Natural History Park, St. George’s Island, Alberta, Canada. 


NEWS AND VIEWS 


igO 

A. W. Richards, North Ryde, New South Wales, writes : “ The last 
breeding season was very good to me. I bred five Violet-eared 
Waxbills, thirteen Black-rumped Waxbills, twelve Green Singing 
Finches, also White-headed Nuns, Cordon-bleus, and Cubans. Three 
young Black-cheeked Waxbills were battered to death by rain on their 
first day out of the nest.” 

* * * 

Sir Richard Cotterell, Bt., is well known to members as a breeder 
of rare firefinches. Not so well known is that Sir Richard’s Garnons 
estate is one of Britain’s woodland showplaces—the winner of many 
Royal Agricultural Society awards. Sir Richard is retiring as Chairman 
of the English Forestry Commission of which he has been a 
commissioner since 1945. 

* * * 

In the last number of the Magazine I mentioned that J. G. Hamilton 
had bred the Purple-crowned Lorikeet in South Australia. I now learn 
that Ted Bruton of Hawthorndene, Brisbane, Queensland, was also 
successful last year. Two pairs nested. One pair laid a clutch of three 
eggs which failed to hatch. The other pair hatched two young ones. 
One young one fell into some plants and strangled itself but the other 

was successfully reared to maturity. 

* * * 

The Eighth Annual Lunch, at the invitation of the Chairman and 
Council of the North of England Zoological Society, was held at the 
Zoological Gardens, Chester, on 8th July, 1964. Between eighty and 
ninety members and guests attended. Mr. W. R. Partridge thanked 
the North of England Zoological Society for entertaining our members 
yet again. In an appropriate little speech he mentioned that Mr. G. S. 
Mottershead had celebrated his seventieth birthday on 12th June, the 
opening of the new Tropical House on 13th June, and the celebration 
of the N. of E.Z.’s 30th Anniversary on the same day. 

The weather was a little stormy at first, but the day developed into 
a beautifully sunny one. The roses can never have looked better—in 
spite of the buffeting they had received during the two previous days. 

The new Tropical House was, of course, greatly admired. It was 
especially fortunate that a small collection of humming birds had 
arrived only the day before and so were an added attraction. 

Once again the thanks of all are due to Mr. and Mrs. G. S. 
Mottershead and Mr. and Mrs. F. Williams and indeed their entire 
staff for their very considerable efforts to ensure the event should be 
such a success. 


A. A. P. 


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AVICULTURAL H 1 
MAGAZINE 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 


Breeding the Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus ) (with plates ), by Frank Meaden . 191 

Breeding the Magpie Starling (Speculipastor bicolor) (with plate), by W. R. 

Partridge . . . . . • • • • • • ^ 

The Breeding of Shelley’s Starling (Spreo shelleyi), by Mrs. K. M. Scamell . 198 

The Parrots of Australia : 9. The Red-capped Parrot (Purpureicephalus spurius) 

(with plates), by Joseph M. Forshaw.201 

Breeding of the Loo Choo or Lidth’s Jay (Lalocitta lidthi), by Thomas G. 

Oliver . . . . • • . • • • • .212 

Breeding of the Port Lincoln Parrakeet, by J. A. Cutler . . . .212 

Breeding the Red-eyed Bulbul, by Charles Everitt.214 

Breeding the Golden-crested Myna, by Charles Everitt . . . .216 

The First Success in Zoo-breeding Great Bustards (Otis tarda )(with plates), by 
Dr. Wolfgang Gewalt . . . . . . . . .218 

News from the Berlin Zoological Gardens, by Dr. Heinz-Georg Klos . .219 

Some Notes on the Breeding of the African Cattle Egret (with plate), by 
Wolfgang Grummt . . . . . . . . • • 222 

British Aviculturists’ Club . . . . . . • • *223 

Council Meeting ........... 224 

London Zoo Notes, by J. J. Yealland ....... 225 

News and Views . . • • • • • • • • 22 5 

Reviews . . • • • • • • • • • • 22 ^ 

Notes ............. 22 9 

Correspondence . . ... . . . . . • 229 

Index. 2 3 i 


VOL. 70 No. 6 


PRICE 7/6 


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 

1964 










THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY 


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THE AVICULTURAL MAGAZINE 

The Magazine is published bi-monthly, and sent free to all members of the 
Avicultural Society. Members joining at any time during the year are entitled to the 
back numbers for the current year on the payment of subscription. All matter for 
publication in the Magazine should be addressed to :— 

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Road, Hertford, England. Telephone : Hertford 2352/3/4. 










Avicult. Mag. 



Copyright ] [F. Meaden I 

A Waxwing Pair at a Feeding Tray, One Bird Fluffed in Partial 
Display While the Other Looks Expectantly for an Offering. 


[Frontispiece 8 







Avicultural Magazine 

THE JOURNAL OF THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY 


Vol. 70,—No. 6.— All rights reserved. NO VEMBER-DECEMBER, 1964 


BREEDING THE WAXWING 

(Bombycilla garrulus) 

By Frank Meaden (Slough, Bucks., England) 

When first obtained for research from the wild, the Waxwings have 
little, if any, fear of humans. Immediately upon being liberated into a 
roomy aviary they settle down almost to the point of a domesticated 
creature, feeding within a few inches of one’s person with no encourage¬ 
ment other than a supply of fruit being available to them. 

When handled initially, the plumage strikes one as resembling an 
extra fine fur-like texture, far different to the touch than feathers of 
most small birds we find here ; the voice, for it can hardly be called a 
song, consists of a continuous, fairly quiet, halting, and rather melan¬ 
choly Tsee-ee-ee tsee-ee-ee. When very active during early morning and 
just prior to dusk this call becomes incessant ; during the breeding 
season and when feeding young in particular, both sexes utter a low 
Chup-chup , which is only audible from about 4 feet away. The song 
proper is seldom heard, and is a series of different notes uttered on 
various levels, the throat movement catching one’s eye often before 
the exceedingly quiet sound is noticed. The only other vocal manifesta¬ 
tion noted to date is a nest-site call, practised by the male and audible 
only within a 2-ft. radius. However, it may possibly be used by 
females when sitting, as at these times I have had difficulty in tracing 
its source ; it is perhaps also a request for feeding. 

This species is easily catered for, but obesity must be guarded 
against. Waxwings appear to be prone to nephritis, crystallising of 
uric acid, brought on by an over-rich diet or severe chill ; the latter 
need never be encountered if the birds are housed wisely under natural 
conditions such as an outdoor aviary with merely a dry sheltered portion 
for roosting. It is the artificially-heated shelter, more than any normal 
winter drop in temperature, which appears to cause chills. 

The food during winter months should for safety sake be kept 
frost-free and consist of a little insectivorous mixture, diced figs and 
dates, small quantities of grated carrot or other root crop, finely chopped 
greenfood, any of the cabbage family or dandelion, spinach, cress, etc., 
16 






92 


F. ME ADEN-BREEDING THE WAXWING 


a second dish containing wholemeal bread sop, of which they are fond, 
will provide a little animal protein ; sweet apple should always be 
available, also soaked household currants, and it is truly amazing how 
much of these foods can be taken daily. Pear can be given occasionally 
but is too loosening in any large or daily quantity. 

With the spring a greater amount of greenfood will be taken in 
addition to the above-mentioned diet ; the seeding heads of sow 
thistle is a favourite, the head complete, being pulled off the plant and 
swallowed whole ; with the longer hours of daylight comes a taste for 
live food which is invariably ignored during the winter. Maggots and 
fresh Wood Ants’ “ eggs ” are taken freely and in ever-increasing 
quantity until the birds come into breeding condition in late May 
or June. 

The courtship display is a fascinating study but is being dealt with 
in detail (C. J. O. Harrison and F. Meaden) elsewhere, and a 
briefer version will be described here. The male hops towards a 
female and displays a few inches from her, he depresses the tail and 
erects the feathers of the lower back, rump and upper tail-coverts, thus 
forming an exaggerated hump on the lower back, and at the same time 
belly and under-coverts are raised. The crest is also raised to its limit 
and the head turned slightly from the female ; there is a slight swagger 
and with a response from the hen a gift-passing ceremony takes place ; 
the latter may not entail actual food, in fact this is not a true courtship 
feeding. Some small object, even inedible, may be passed from one to 
the other for a number of times, there will frequently be a hop away 
from the partner, a slight turning away of the head and then a repeat— 
up to fourteen actual exchanges of gift have been noted. 

From the side view this puffed-out stance gives the bird displaying 
an extreme rotund appearance, tail and head vertical and yet from the 
rear it is noted the wings are compressed tightly to the sides (see 
sketch and photographs). With true courtship feeding there is no 
display, just the offering of food from beak tip. This may be a bud from 
blackcurrant or the actual fruit, an ant’s “ egg ”, seeding head com¬ 
plete with feathery portion, or any other small edible titbit. However, 
it is never regurgitated but just passed from the male to female, beak- 
tip to beak-tip, the former stretching himself taller and the female 
adopting a slightly crouching position. 

Since these birds are colony breeders in the wild, we provide them 
with one large aviary. Until a hen has actually built there is no sign 
of aggressive behaviour between the males ; at this stage, however, 
there may be a certain amount of threatening, beak snapping, but no 
damage resulting from it. Once a male has selected a mate, it would 
appear that he objects to the close proximity of another male and by 
this it is a matter of inches and not feet. When nest building is com¬ 
menced in earnest almost any site may be chosen. I have had two hens 




F. ME ADEN-BREEDING THE WAXWING 


193 



Sketch illustrating the mating display, male and female take up this posture, perhaps 
the female’s is slightly less exaggerated. 

sitting within 8 or 9 inches of each other, both in full view of all visitors 
on a shelf of fir branches we fabricated for them. Some have used 
7-in. diameter nest-baskets, others built using the base afforded by 
the tops of a dozen unused aviary partitions, approximately 5 feet from 
the ground ; the lowest nest was some 3 ft. 6 in. above the aviary floor, 
the highest about 6 feet, this even though similar sites existed up to 
8 feet high. 

The nest itself is built from twigs of heather or birch, some birds 
using dry vegetation such as the stalks of shepherd’s purse, quite a lot of 
grass is used with relatively little moss ; coconut fibre seems popular 
and for all their appearance of untidiness the nests are lined beautifully 
with cow hair, cotton wool, and vegetable down from seeding heads. 
We have made a point of providing every possible type of material ; 
the inside diameter ranges from 3 to 3J inches, never above this when 
first constructed, even though the outer dimensions have a far wider 
range, at times larger than a Blackbird’s nest. On the one occasion 
when young were reared to maturity the nest expanded very con¬ 
siderably. Waxwings’ eggs appear to vary little in either size, shape, or 



94 


F. ME ADEN-BREEDING THE WAXWING 


colouring. I can of course only speak of those kept under controlled 
conditions ; the eggs are darkish blue-grey with black spotted and 
streaked markings ; four has been the normal clutch and fourteen 
days incubation, invariably by the hen, although males do seem to take 
their turn when a female is feeding. 

Were I to hazard a guess about our success in breeding these birds 
I would suggest that it was brought about by their extreme tameness. 

A sitting hen would fearlessly take food from the fingers of anyone ; it 
being normal for her to offer her young whatever she was given by her 
mate, I presume we in this way guaranteed the chicks receiving their 
first feed. We made certain of this on this occasion (in previous years 
the birds had not reared and we put this down to their wild habit of 
hawking flying insects for feeding young) by offering the hen food when 
we knew young had hatched. She accepted a number of ants’ eggs and 
swallowed them and, a moment later, whilst still being watched, she 
raised herself slightly and lowered her head into the nest. The food 
came up with a lot of slimy liquid, in no way digested, but coated with 
this liquid which for a better name I will call “ milk ”. 

Whether this “ milk ” is a food of high nutritional value or merely 
a means of assisting the chick to take other food I am uncertain. From 
then on the hen fed ants’ eggs and bread sop to the nestlings whenever 
I or any member of my family offered them to her, and from here on we 
placed a small dish of ants’ eggs within her reach as she sat on the nest, 
this supply being replenished morning, noon, and about four in the 
afternoon. 

On the aviary feeding tray we kept a continuous supply of ant 
larvae. No maggots were taken for the chicks, although daily supplies 
were given, until around the eighth day. We offered no mealworms at all 
during this period for fear that the shell-like skin might prove harmful. 

I should mention here that every youngster which was close-ringed, 
was lost. It was the same old story, despite each and every trick I tried, 
always nest cleaning meant another chick thrown out; we breathed 
warmth back into two but it proved only a temporary reprieve for 
them. 

The food during summer months can be varied considerably, so many 
seeding heads are taken, even the ripe pods of the brassicas are torn 
open and the seeds greedily devoured. Every form of soft fruit is taken 
in the ripe stage, strawberry, blackcurrant, redcurrant, raspberry, 
being favourites ; by shaking hedgerow branches over a large opened 
sheet of brown paper we were also able to provide a wide variety of 
insect life for feeding the young. With the arrival of the fall and its 
abundance of wild fruit, we were able to obtain rowan berries by the 
sackful, as many as eleven of these large berries were seen to be taken 
at one feeding, the crop of the bird showing in an extended manner. 
Always rather heavy drinkers, the Waxwing constantly visits the water I 





Avicult. Mag. 



Copyright] [F. Meaden 

Here one Member of a Pair Approaches Another with an 
Object For the Gift-passing Ceremony. 



Copyright] [F. Meaden 

Waxwing on the Left is in the Inflated Display Posture 
with Head Turned Away. 


[To face p. 194 











F. ME ADEN-BREEDING THE WAXWING 


95 


trough when eating this fruit and that of hawthorn, whether assisting 
the digestion or providing the required liquid for passing waste skins, 
seeds, etc., I do not know, but they certainly do not bring up pellets. 

We have found upon sieving and washing the droppings beneath a 
running tap, that seeds do pass through the bird. Not knowing the 
complete intake I cannot say whether some are ground to be powdered 
waste or if the whole is passed, but an interesting point is that they do 
eat large amounts of cuttlefish. At the request of a noted ornithologist 
we studied this over a fairly lengthy period and found that where sea 
grit was ignored, visits to the next dish which contained broken and 
powdered cuttlefish, were quite frequent. They also nibble this from a 
large piece in the same manner as a hardbill : presumably this must 
assist in breaking up waste food particles such as hard fruit seeds or 
passing them through. 

At one time, in the hope that a number of ornithologists would be 
able to observe this species nesting in the wild, we approached the 
B.T.O. with a request that suitable habitat could be recommended 
so that we could release two pairs during their breeding season (May, 
June, or July). However, through lack of co-operation the idea was 
discarded. 

Being a firm believer in providing natural foods, our Waxwings get 
regular supplies of Wood Ant larvae during summer months. With 
these we collect large quantities of ants, in fact we have a complete nest 
in one aviary. The point which I wish to make is that never in the ten 
years or so in which we have kept these birds have I ever seen any sign 
of anting behaviour ; so many species show an interest in this insect 
yet the Waxwing will eat the occasional one or often use it in gift- 
passing ceremony, but that is all. 

Something which I have not noticed with other young birds struck 
me when hand-rearing Waxwings—inside the bill are two fluorescent 
and rather brilliant mauve patches. These appear to be directly under 
the eye ball, though did not seem to be the colour of the eye showing 
through the roof of the mouth, but I could well be wrong on this point. 


196 W. R. PARTRIDGE-BREEDING THE MAGPIE STARLING 

BREEDING THE MAGPIE STARLING 

{Speculipastor bicolor) 

By W. R. Partridge (Evesham, Worcs. England) 

In October last year (1963) Mr. David Roberts brought to this 
country from Kenya a fine collection of birds, which included some 
Magpie Starlings, Speculipastor bicolor , and I secured from him a cock 
and three hens. Shortly after this I obtained another pair which had 
been part of the same importation. 

The sexes of this fine starling are easily recognizable, as they differ 
in colour. The adult male has a glossy blue-black head and neck to 
chest, back, tail, and wings. The base half of the primaries and under 
wing-coverts, however, are creamy white, as are the breast, abdomen, 
and under tail-coverts. Bill and legs black. The eye is a brilliant red. 

The female has a slate-grey head and neck which extends to a black 
band across the chest, back darker grey, wings and tail dull black and 
underparts creamy-white. Bill and legs black. Eye more orange than in 
the male. 

When I got these birds home they were put into 4-ft. long cages in a 
heated bird room, the original four birds in one and the pair in another. 
Later the four were transferred into an indoor flight in the same room 
from which they could be allowed into an outside flight for short 
periods when the weather was warm enough. 

At the end of April, when the weather started to improve, the birds 
were moved into planted aviaries, the four into one and the pair into 
another. Shortly after they had been put out three of the four birds 
were sold and the remaining hen was put into the aviary with the pair, 
giving the cock the choice of two hens. 

The aviary flight measures 21 by 8 feet and at the back is an indoor 
compartment 8 by 7 feet and about 8 feet high at the back, which is 
lighted by a roof light and front windows. The birds are fed in this 
shelter. The vegetation in the flight consists of a few small Lonicera nitida 
and Snowberry bushes and one large nut bush. This is one of a range 
of twelve similar aviaries which house principally doves and other 
softbills. Also occupying this aviary when the Magpie Starlings were 
first put in were a pair of Fairy Bluebirds, a pair of Dwarf Ruddy Doves, 
hens of Blue-headed and Red Ground Doves. The doves were never 
any trouble to any of the birds, but the starlings and Bluebirds after 
settling down quite peaceably at the start soon became enemies. The 
cause of the trouble was the cock Fairy Bluebird as he would tolerate 
the hen starlings but not the cock, particularly when there were any 
mealworms about, so they were removed from the flight. 

The cock Magpie Starling soon became very fit and would literally 
spend all day singing with his brilliant red eyes shining fiercely. For 
nesting the birds were given the choice of two old boxes that mealworms 


Avicult. Mag. 



[To face p. 196 

















W. R. PARTRIDGE-BREEDING THE MAGPIE STARLING 


197 


had come in and a hollow log. A box and the log were hung in the 
flight and the other box was hung on the back wall of the shelter about 
6 feet from the ground, and quantities of hay and straw were scattered 
about the aviary. 

The first sign of any interest in nesting was a piece of hay that was 
found hanging out of the box in the shelter. This piece kept being 
moved about and disappearing and then appearing again for several 
days. Now whenever anyone went through the shelter to feed, one of 
the hens would appear from the nest and on 12th June the nest was 
inspected and on top of a few criss-crossed pieces of grass, a very flimsy 
nest for a starling, four eggs were found. They were bluish-green, 
lightly spotted all over with russet brown and about 27 by 20 mm. 

Shortly after the hen started to incubate, the cock became very 
aggressive towards the other hen so she, along with the two Ground 
Doves, were removed to the adjoining aviary, leaving only the Dwarf 
Ruddy Doves which were sitting at the time. The hen alone incubated, 
and she sat very tightly, often not leaving the nest-box when anyone 
walked through the shelter feeding. The first sign of a hatch was on 
30th June, when squeaking was heard to come from the box. There 
were two distinct notes, one stronger than the other, so at least two 
chicks had hatched. A few days later when it was thought to be safe to 
look in the box, three chicks were found. 

Apart from their normal diet of Sluis Universal and minced raw meat, 
the parent birds were given ad lib mealworms and maggots every night 
and morning. They also consumed large quantities of sweet apple. 
Both parents fed the youngsters and would often do so whilst someone 
was in the shelter feeding and showed little fear. After about a week 
one chick, that had been dead two or three days was thrown out of the 
nest. On 22nd July both the remaining young left the nest for the first 
time. They were quite intelligent from the start and found no difficulty 
in finding their perches or the way in and out of the shelter. 

The head, neck, back, wings, and tail of the young birds are a 
uniform grey tinged with brown and the underparts are creamy white, 
as in the adults. The eyes of the youngsters were dark brown, but now 
as I write this in September they are beginning to turn red. 

Within a few days of the youngsters leaving the nest, the old birds 
were again carrying nesting material into the same box and had laid by 
1st August. Again three young were hatched, one of which was thrown 
out of the nest when still very young. The other two continued to 
grow until we had a very hot spell for a few days and the shelter became 
very hot. This proved too much for one of the youngsters who would 
sit in the entrance to the nest-box to get as much air as possible and 
in doing this fell out of the box on three occasions on to the floor 
and eventually died. The remaining youngster left the nest on 6th 
September. 


198 K. M. SCAMELL-BREEDING THE SHELLEY’S STARLING 

On 11 th September the parent birds were again carrying bits of hay 
into the same box, which is i feet long by 4 inches wide and 7 inches 
high. To-day, 15th September, they again have four eggs and one of the 
first two youngsters is beginning to warble ; I can hardly describe it 
as singing. 

Mackworth-Praed and Grant in Birds of Eastern and North-Eastern 
Africa , Vol. II, page 693, say this species comes from Southern Abyssinia, 
Southern Italian Somaliland, and Kenya (where my birds came from), 
and are of irregular appearance in most localities and given to very 
wide wanderings. Generally noticed in small flocks at some height 
which can be identified by their shrill whistling cry, but is sometimes 
abundant when figs or other fruits are ripe. According to the same 
authors, the nests as a rule are in holes in anthills, made of green leaves 
and grass in chambers at the end of tunnels, and there are three or four 
eggs which are bluish-green, heavily speckled and spotted with rufus 
colouring. 

As described, W. R. Partridge has bred the Magpie Starling 
Speculipastor bicolor. It is believed that this may be a first success. Any 
member or reader knowing of a previous breeding of this species in the 
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is requested to 
communicate at once with the Hon. Secretary. 

* * * 

THE BREEDING OF THE SHELLEY’S STARLING 

(Spreo shelleyi Sharpe) 

By Mrs. K. M. Scamell (Newdigate, Surrey) 

The Shelley’s Starling is found in an area of East Africa which ; 
includes Southern Abyssinia, South-eastern Sudan west of Lake 
Rudolf, and the eastern half of Kenya. We have found it a shy bird 
in an aviary though it steadies down in a cage. 

In size the Shelley’s Starling is like the Superb Spreo, about 8 inches j 
long but it has a slightly shorter wing. In colour it is deep violet blue 
above and from chin to chest ; breast to under tail-coverts, unbroken 
dark chestnut. There is a green collar behind the neck and the wings 
are glossy green with black spots at the ends of the wing-coverts. 
There is some similarity in the general colouring to the Hildebrandt’s j 1 
Starling which is, however, less richly coloured and has a distinct light 
chestnut colour on the breast contrasting with the deeper chestnut on 
the belly. 

We purchased three freshly imported Shelley’s Starlings from Mr. 
Dineen, then of Collier’s Wood, about two-and-half years ago and last 
summer turned them out into a planted aviary in which they were the 
only occupants. The aviary flight measured 15 ft. by 4 ft. 6 in. wide by 


K. M. SCAMELL-BREEDING THE SHELLEY’S STARLING 


199 


7 feet high with a shelter at one end. High up in the flight, and with the 
aperture facing west, we fixed a Cockatiel nest-box 10 inches square by 
2 feet high with a hole near the top. It was half filled with peat and 
some grass placed on top of the peat. At other places in the flight 
was a smaller edition of the nest-box described above and another one 
with a half-open front. 

The birds soon settled down and agreed with each other, but as far 
as I was aware, showed no inclination to breed. During the winter we 
showed them once or twice, either singly or two of them as a pair. 
They were kept together in a large cage in which they agreed. In 
early May of this year (1964) they were returned to the same aviary. 
On 17th May I picked up one of the Starlings, dead, in the flight. It 
was unmarked and there was no apparent cause of death. The bird was 
quite plump and did not have the appearance of having been driven 
off its food by either of the other Starlings. As I mentioned earlier, the 
birds are very shy and as their aviary is in a wood some way from the 
house, they could always hear me coming, and I could never find out 
how they were behaving. 

On 8th June, I saw one bird only as I approached the flight, then 
I saw the second bird emerging from the nest-box, so it seemed at last 
they might be nesting. I decided to leave them alone, but increased 
their mealworm ration. Unlike Superb Spreos, they wouldn’t touch 
gentles. Once or twice during that week I saw one bird only so I was 
pretty sure that the hen was incubating. The cock sang continuously 
from a nearby perch. On Sunday, 14th June, at about 5 p.m., my 
husband stood on a short step-ladder and had a quick look in the nest- 
box as both birds were in flight at the time. At first glance nothing 
could be seen, but after a moment he saw a small naked chick on top of 
the peat. It was probably only an hour or two old and was almost cold. 
In the right-hand front corner was a scooped-out cup-shaped nest 
lined with feathers. In it were two other chicks, larger and probably 
hatched the previous day. He hastily returned the almost dead chick 
to the nest, closed the hinged front and came out at once. I then 
replenished the mealworm pot which was empty. There was no trace 
of eggshells anywhere ; it is possible they are somewhere in the long 
grass. I supplied the usual fruit soft food, also mealworms, from then on. 
I also added gentles to ease the pressure on the mealworms which are 
not only most expensive but seem to get in short supply most summers 
when the breeding season is at its height. This is probably due almost 
as much to the heat as to the demand. Once mealworms get overheated 
either in transit or in store, they die off and blacken quickly. This 
summer has been the hottest for three years and the only way I have 
saved mealworms which have arrived in good condition is to spread 
them out in containers in bran and also keep a supply in an old fridge 
which I keep in the garage especially for storing soaked sultanas, figs, 


200 


K. M. SCAMELL-BREEDING THE SHELLEY’S STARLING 


pulped carrots, and my stock of gentles. On the occasions when 
mealworms have arrived in bad condition, nothing much can be done. 
On 16th June the Shelley’s threw out one of the chicks—from its size 
I would say it was the one put back in the nest two days earlier. A cold 
wet spell was now with us, but the parents were far less shy than usual 
and I was able to see them feed mealworms and gentles to the two 
remaining chicks. I did not expect them to take to gentles seeing that 
they would not eat any themselves, but with the mealworm shortage 
they had to feed both ! 

The first Shelley’s left the nest on 4th July—it was a fine bird and was 
flying strongly. All the markings were dull, not glossy, the head and 
back being an ashy-brown. I would reckon the bird was about 
twenty-two days old. The second youngster left the nest the next day 
and also flew high and strong. I don’t think I have ever seen two 
youngsters so fit at such an early age. They were almost as large as their 
parents. There were no problems, feeding was normal, and all four 
birds were generally very close together on high perches. On 19th July 
I decided to remove the young birds from their parents as I had seen 
them feeding themselves even though they gaped when near their 
parents. It was about 6 p.m. when they were caught up and placed in a 
flight in a birdroom where I could observe them. They made no 
attempt to feed that evening nor had they fed by 8 a.m. next morning 
so I returned them to their parents and left them there for another 
fortnight, finally caging them on 3rd August. The parents were then in 
fine condition and carrying nesting material, but I think that I left 
the young with them too long as up to last Sunday, 23rd August, when 
we had a look in the nest-box, it only contained grass and feathers on 
top of the peat—no clear cup. I had hoped we would have had another 
round and I particularly wanted to see the eggs. We have had two 
clutches from two pairs of Superb Spreos this year, though none of the 
young have been up to the standard of the Shelley’s which are excep¬ 
tional birds and though a little wild, are meated off on to soft food 
containing fruit, gentles once a day, and a few mealworms. In colour 
to-day they are showing some glossy blue on the lesser wing-coverts and 
tail. The throat, head, and back are ashy brown, the chest and belly 
deep chestnut. The eyes are dark grey-blue and not red as in the 
adult bird. 

As described, Mrs. K. M. Scamell has bred the Shelley’s Starling, 
Spreo shelleyi. It is believed that this may be a first success. Any member 
or reader knowing of a previous breeding of this species in the United 
Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is requested to com¬ 
municate at once with the Hon. Secretary. 



J. M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 


201 


THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 

By Joseph M. Forshaw, (Canberra, Australia) 

(Continued from Vol. yo, No. 4. p. 145.) 

g. The Red-Capped Parrot. 

(.Purpureicephalus spurius) 

Undoubtedly one of the most brilliant of all parrots, the Red-capped 
Parrot was originally described from an immature bird in the Paris 
Museum by Kuhl in 1820. It is generally believed that this specimen 
was collected by Peron in the vicinity of King George’s Sound, Western 
Australia. When describing the bird Kuhl remarked that it was doubt¬ 
ful if an adult specimen had ever been observed. Described under the 
name of Psittacus spurius this species was subsequently subjected to a 
variety of new scientific names until 1854 when Bonaparte introduced 
the genus Purpureicephalus with pileatus the type. This specific name 
had been previously introduced by Vigors in 1831 and was widely 
accepted until the validity of spurius was established. Finally the correct 
combination of the works of Kuhl and Bonaparte was universally 
recognized and the name Purpureicephalus spurius came into existence. 

An effective combination of bright colours renders the plumage of 
the adult male very distinctive. Bright deep green is the colour of the 
back and wings, while ultramarine blue is found on the outer edges 
of the wing primaries, the inner edges of which are dark brownish- 
black. The central tail feathers are deep green and this is offset by 
blue on the secondary feathers, which are tipped with white. The 
forehead, crown and upper nape are a deep crimson. Bright yellow- 
green is found on the cheek patches, rump and upper tail-coverts. 
This colour on the cheek patches merges into pea green on the throat. 
The underparts are deep blue-violet, while the flanks and under tail- 
coverts are red intermixed with some bright green. The oddly-shaped 
bill is bluish-grey, the iris dark brown, and the feet light brown. The 
adult female resembles the male. Individual birds may differ in 
having the red cap marked with a sprinkling of green feathers and the 
breast a dull greyish-mauve with the violet-blue restricted to the lower 
abdomen. However, the flanks and under tail-coverts of all females 
have a much stronger diffusion of green feathers. Immatures have the 
crown dark green uniform with the back and wings. The blue on the 
wings and tail and the yellow-green on the cheeks and sides of the neck 
are noticeably reduced in both extent and intensity. The red cap is 
represented by a rust-coloured frontal band. Dull cinnabar-brown is 
the colour of the underparts, the lower portions of which are washed 
with violet-blue. The flanks and under tail-coverts are strongly diffused 
with pale green. It is a medium-sized, slim bird as indicated by the 


202 


J. M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 


following measurements obtained from specimens collected by the 
author at Busselton, Western Australia, on 14th March, 1963. 


Total 



length. 

Wingspan. 

Wing. 

Tail. 

Culmen. 

Tarsus. 


in. 

in. 

in. 

in. 

in. 

in. 

Adult male 

14*75 

19-1 

6-1 

7‘35 

1 *0 

o-75 

Adult female . 

H-45 

19-0 

6 -o 

7-o 

1 -o 

o-75 

Immature male 

i5-i 

19-5 

6-3 

7*9 

1 *o 

o-75 

Immature female 

14-0 

i8-5 

6 -o 

7-25 

0-87 

o-75 


Bill bluish-grey, iris dark brown, feet greyish-brown. 

Systematic Discussion 

Many theories have been advanced to explain the development of 
the Red-capped Parrot, but of these, three have become established as 
the most worthy of serious consideration. However, before examining 
each in detail it would be well to study the relationship between this 
unique genus and the other members of the Platycercinae. Similarities 
exist in the osteology with the incompleteness of the orbital ring and in 
the articulation of the quadrate being unobscured. However, by the 
same token the pre-orbital process is larger than in the other genera 
and the post-frontal process is noticeably reduced, while the whole 
cranium appears more slender than in allied forms. Externally, the 
scalloping of the second to fifth primaries is typical of the broadtails. 
The overall picture thus presented is that this bird occupies an isolated 
position within the Platycercinae. 

Mathews (1918) presented his evolutionary theory on the evidence 
of colour change in the plumage, stating that the bill was the only 
structural difference between this and the other genera. The essence 
of this particular theory may be stated in saying that Purpureicephalus is 
a specialized form developed from Barnardius. The main difference j 
lies in the survival of the erythristic element in this species as shown by 
the red crown and under tail-coverts, whereas Barnardius shows only 
a red frontal band. Mathews used the plumage development from 
immature to adult phase as an indication of the species’ affinities to 
the broadtails. As well as admitting to a major difference between the 
two genera concerned, he failed to promote conclusively any colour- 
change arguments supporting his findings. The author cannot support 
this theory and must agree with Condon (1941) in using the unique 
colour pattern and lack of blue cheek patches as arguments for the 
separation, rather than combination, of Purpureicephalus and Barnardius. 

The grouping with another genus was carried even further by 
Cain(i955) who set about establishing affinities with Eunymphicus 
cornutus of New Caledonia and the Loyalty Isles. The colour scheme 
of this bird was stated to be that of Purpureicephalus with a great intensi¬ 
fication of green and black, loss of blue on the underparts and restric¬ 
tion of red on the head to a forehead band with a flush of yellow on the 



J. M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 


203 


crown. The main differences were that the bill was not elongated and 
there was a small crest of two or three elongated feathers. It appears 
to be a contradiction in terms to say that the plumage colours are 
similar after dismissing the most conspicuous markings such as red cap 
and blue underparts. Gain proposed incorporating E. cornutus into 
Purpureicephalus stating that one was to the other what Platycercus elegans 
is to Platycercus caledonicus or the genus Cyanoramphus is to Platycercus. 
Such a statement demands close examination. If this were true 
Cyanoramphus should be incorporated into Platycercus in spite of con¬ 
spicuous anatomical differences. P. caledonicus and P. elegans are certainly 
closely related as they show similar colour patterns and common 
characteristics such as immature plumage and transition periods in 
the development of adult colouration. Such obvious closeness of rela¬ 
tionship is not evident with Cyanoramphus or with the two genera in 
question. Geographically the two rosellas may be combined in the 
one genus, but this is certainly not possible with the New Zealand 
parrot or with Eunymphicus and Purpureicephalus. The author is not in 
favour of the combination of these two genera. 

Serventy (1938) outlined the theory of a relict form which once had 
an eastern representative. This bird could have disappeared from the 
eastern areas because of the over-specialization of the bill. Instead of 
being derived from Barnardius it seems to have evolved separately from 
the platycercine ancestral form. Using the colour pattern as a guide, 
Serventy stated that Purpureicephalus could be more easily related to 
Platycercus caledonicus than to Barnardius. This is most interesting 
because the Green Rosella is regarded by many ornithologists as having 
altered least from the common ancestors. 

Condon (1941) discussed the above theory at length and modified 
certain aspects of the bird’s evolutionary history. Rejecting its affinities 
with Barnardius he regarded it as an independent development from 
the ancient prototype of the larger broadtails. The unique colour 
pattern, the absence of blue cheek patches and the unusual cranial 
structure adds considerable weight to this conclusion. Summing up, 
Condon dismissed the south-western Australian origin of the Red- 
capped Parrot and substituted its being the sole surviving member of 
an assemblage of parrot forms which disappeared probably in the 
Pleistocene. These forms could have been more widely dispersed than 
at present. 

Most existing evidence supports the theory of the Red-capped 
Parrot being a relict species surviving in a restricted stronghold in 
the forests of south-western Australia. However, the specialization of the 
bill does not appear to be the main reason for the extinction of the 
eastern representatives, although it may have been a contributing 
factor. Observations have shown that Purpureicephalus uses its beak to 
extract seeds from the fruit of other eucalypts besides Marri ( Eucalyptus 


204 


J. M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 



calophylla ) the species most closely associated with this parrot. It would 
appear that related eastern forms could have adjusted to accommodate 
the development of fruits of the eastern eucalypts. A combination of 
changing forces undoubtedly prevented this happening in the eastern 
regions. Whatever these factors were they were not as prevalent in 
the south-western corner of the continent and the adjustments made 
over a long period by the bird have resulted in the existence of 
Purpureicephalus spurius in that region. 

From a speciman collected by T. Carter at Broome Hill, Western 
Australia, Mathews described Purpureicephalus spurius carteri in 1915. 
This race was reported to differ from the typical subspecies in being 1 
darker above and in having the cheek patches greener and the under¬ 
parts dark purple. Subsequent examination of skins has failed to 
support these differences and this race has been dismissed as invalid 
by subsequent authorities. 



Avicult. Mag. 



Copyright ] [Joseph M . Forshaw 

A Stand of Marri ( Eucalyptus calophylla ) in Cultivated Farmland 
Near Busselton, Western Australia : Haunt of the Red-capped 

Parrot. 


[To facep . 204 


















J. M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 


205 


General Discussion 

The Red-capped Parrot is restricted to the forested areas of south¬ 
western Australia, north to the Moore River and generally east to the 
Great Southern Railway. In the south it occurs as far as Esperance 
and rarely to Lake Grace. Vagrants are often observed east of the 
Southern Railway as was the case with Garter’s observations at 
Broome Hill. 

Within this restricted range Purpureicephalus is quite abundant and 
is frequently observed even in the suburbs of Perth. They are usually 
seen in pairs or small family parties feeding on the ground or flying 
through the Marri forests. The rich gaudy colours of the adult birds 
never fail to impress the observer. The brilliant blue of the primaries, 
shoulders and undersides of the wings blending with the blue-violet of 
the underparts renders the bird most conspicuous, while the contrast 
of the red cap against the green back makes recognition easy. When 
in flight the light yellow-green rump is displayed and this is the most 
valuable aid to positive field identification. 

During the day the birds frequent the Marri and other eucalypts 
where they are most difficult to observe in spite of their bright plumage. 
They are particularly quiet and the falling nuts and leaves are often 
the only indication of their presence. As the intruder moves through 
the timbered country the birds silently fly from tree to tree ahead of the 
observer. It requires a strong disturbance to cause them to take to 
the wing in alarm. 

The flight is quite rapid with a little undulation. The short wings are 
moved rapidly and this gives a somewhat buoyant effect when inter¬ 
spersed with short periods of motionless glide. The flight is silent and 
differs from that of the Platycercus sp. in being direct and in lacking 
the overall curve towards the ground with the characteristic upward 
glide before alighting. The tail is only slightly fanned before landing. 
While in flight the peculiar call is usually emitted. 

The call is a harsh, hollow, grating-like note uttered several times in 
quick succession. This call is in addition to the shrieking alarm notes 
given when disturbed. An analysis of the call notes of this species 
reveals affinities to those of the Platycercus spp. of the eastern regions, 
but the similarities are far outnumbered by the overall distinctiveness 
of the voice of this unique species. Unlike most of the broadtails it 
appears to lack any chattering call associated with feeding. 

Early in the morning Red-capped Parrots may often be flushed from 
the roadside where they have been feeding on green wild oats (. Avena 
fatua) or from dams and tanks in the farm paddocks. Vagrants in the 
semi-arid eastern areas are generally observed feeding on the ground 
under the Mallee ( Eucalyptus occidentalis) and Marlock scrub. However, 
the major source of food lies in the seeds of eucalypts and various trees 
and shrubs. Birds from Bremer Bay were recorded feeding on the seeds 


206 


J. M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 



Fig. I 


Figs, i, 2, and 3. 




Fig. 2 Fig. 3 

[L. S. Hall 

-For explanation see text. 


of Eucalyptus cornuta and Agonis flexuosa, the only trees in the area. The 
specialized bill, which is illustrated in Fig. 1, is most useful in removing 
the seeds from Jarrah ( Eucalyptus marginata ), Grevillea, Flakea , Casuarina 
spp. and the Native Pear ( Xylomelum sp.). The fruit of the Native Pear 
opens under the summer sun thus exposing the kernels which are 
consumed in large quantities by the Red-capped Parrot. Blossoms of j 
the Marri, Jarrah, Melaleuca and other trees and shrubs such as the 
introduced Silky Oak ( Grevillea robusta ) are another source of food, 
while apples, pears and citrus fruits are receiving more attention much ! 
to the orchardists’ dismay. Nevertheless, it is the Marri ( Eucalyptus 
calophylla) that is the most important item in the source of food and ) 
this association must be carefully examined. 

The peculiar development of the bill of Purp. spurius has generally 
been considered by most authorities as a specialization enabling the 
bird to feed on the seeds of the Marri. Serventy (1938) following \ 
information provided by Carter (1924) and Alexander (1930) rejected I 
this hypothesis because the bird is found outside the range of the Marri. ; 
A specimen reported by Gould to have been collected at Port Essington 
(see Salvadori, 1891) gave rise to an early belief that the species enjoyed t 
quite a widespread distribution in the west. This, undoubtedly, was : 
an error arising from incorrect labelling and the range was soon reduced 
to the south-western corner of Australia, where the Marri is found. 
Serventy is correct in saying that the parrot is found outside the range 
of the Marri, but it is the author’s belief that the observations used in i 
forming this opinion were sightings of vagrants in areas where the 
bird is quite rare. 

The Marri is a large eucalypt with a dense foliage of large leaves 
thus rendering it very useful as a shade tree on farms. The fruit as j 



J. M. FORSHAW THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 207 

shown in Fig. 2 is large, thick and woody with average measurements 
of 1 • 5 by i*2 inches, although specimens as large as 2 • o by 1-5 inches, 
are not uncommon. The seeds within this bowl ripen over an extended 
period and this means that many trees have an almost continuous 
supply of fruits at all stages of development. Robinson (i960) has given 
a full account of the Marri fruit as a source of food to south-western 
Australian birds and the Red-capped Parrot figures most prominently 
in this report. As soon as seeds have developed within the fruit it is 
attacked by Purp. spurius. Preliminary tests on the fruit are made by 
inserting the upper mandible into the bowl and when a tree with 
suitable fruit is located the birds concentrate on that tree. The young 
birds remove the fruit and while holding it by the stem peel off the 
green skin by passing it through the bill. The older birds pick a fruit 
and test it by the method described above and if unsatisfactory drop it 
and move to another. If the fruit is acceptable the bird chops its way 
into the bowl removing the seeds in the minimum time and with 
maximum proficiency. It is with the mature fruit, however, that the 
bird shows remarkable efficiency in the use of the elongated upper 
mandible. The bowl holding the seeds is extremely hard and almost 
impenetrable thus granting access to the seeds only through the lip of 
the capsule. The adult bird revolves the fruit while holding it by the 
stem and removes the seeds by inserting the upper mandible as shown 
in Fig. 3. As well as feeding in the tree they often attack fallen nuts on 
the ground. In this case the fruit will be merely steadied by the foot and 
the bird will circle it removing the seeds in the same manner. The 
whole procedure is performed swiftly and efficiently without marking 
the lip. On the other hand young birds are comparatively clumsy in 
extracting the seeds, indicating that experience improves the tech¬ 
niques. This may or may not demonstrate that the extraction of these 
mature seeds is the cause for the adaptation of the bill. Young birds 
generally are not as agile in most facets of life as their parents. Even 
if the elongation of the bill was originally brought about by factors no 
longer present, it is evident that the substitution of this usage has been 
to the advantage of the species. In spite of this anatomical peculiarity 
the parrot is able to benefit from the ability of its kind to exploit new 
sources of food such as seeds of shrubs and cultivated fruits. This 
enables the species to live outside the Marri area without adverse 
effects even though it is adapted to a close association with the tree. 
In spite of its increasing diversity of feeding habits it appears to be 
quite correct to assume that the shape of the upper mandible is a 
modification to enable the extraction of seeds from the fruit of Marri. 

Known throughout Western Australia as the King Parrot, Purp. 
spurius is a resident species in the south-west. The numbers in a par¬ 
ticular locality may fluctuate with the availability of food, but it 
generally remains in each area throughout the year. 


17 


208 


J. M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 


Sexing with this species is comparatively easy with adult birds, but 
immatures present a little difficulty. Some people are under the impres¬ 
sion that adult females resemble the immature bird, but this is not 
correct. All immatures show a white “ wing-stripe ” which is retained 
by the females and lost by the males with the first moult at about 
twelve months. Immatures may be sexed by the difference in the head. 
The male has a large flat head, while that of the female is small and 
rounded. The mature plumage is attained over a period of approxi¬ 
mately fifteen months. The author was fortunate in obtaining an 
immature male of known age in March, 1963, and the process of 
obtaining adult plumage was carefully noted. This is given here with 
the admission that it applies to one bird only, but it should, neverthe¬ 
less, be accepted as a valuable guide to the general procedure applicable 
to the species. The bird was removed from the nest in December, 1962, 
and no noticeable change took place until April, 1963, when the lower 
underparts acquired a light violet-blue colouration. One month 
later red feathers appeared on the crown and nape, the red on the vent 
and under tail-coverts increased in both intensity and extent, the 
underparts became noticeably violet-blue and the ear-coverts began 
to show signs of moulting. It is interesting to note that the red cap 
feathers began to appear in an uneven general pattern not from the j 
forehead as may be expected. The cap rapidly established itself and in 
a fortnight it was clearly defined even though a considerable quantity 
of green feathers were still present. There was little alteration during 
the winter months with the most noticeable change being an increase 
in the intensity of the colours, particularly the violet-blue underparts. 
The ear-coverts were still quite patchy. September and the beginning 
of spring brought noticeable changes. The red feathers in the cap 
began to increase rapidly, while the bright yellow ear-coverts became 
established. The red on the vent and under tail-coverts spread to 
the flanks and increased in intensity, as did the violet-blue of the abdo¬ 
men and lower breast. The wings entered into a moult which was to 
continue during the next six weeks. Little change in the plumage was 
noticed until late summer, when the back took on a bright dark green 
and the striking red of the vent and under tail-coverts was acquired. 
Few green feathers remained in the cap by February, 1964, and the ! 
rich dark blue of the shoulders and undersides of the wings was attained. 
By March, 1964, the glorious plumage of the adult male was exhibited i 
by the bird. 

The mating display differs markedly from that of the other broadtails ; 
and further illustrates the isolated position of this bird. The male 
takes up a position opposite or next to the female. This may be on the 1 
same or a parallel branch of a tree or shrub. The red crown feathers 
are erected and the wings drooped, thus exposing the bright yellow- j 
green rump, the feathers of which are fluffed. The outspread tail is 




Avicult. Mag. 



Copyright] [M. Morcombe 


Adult Red-capped Parrot Approaches the Nesting Hollow. 


[To face p. 208 





Avicult. Mag. 



Copyright ] [M. Morcombe 

Adult Male Purpureicephalus spurius Leaves the Nest. 


[To face p. 209 




J. M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 


209 


then slowly raised towards the back. The typical tail-wagging and 
squaring of the shoulders is entirely absent from the display. 

The commencement of spring brings on a marked increase of 
activity as pairs of birds investigate holes and hollow limbs in trees, 
generally Marris, as nesting sites. Upon selection of a suitable hollow 
the bottom is lined with decayed wood already present or formed by 
the birds’ scratching on the surface. Four to seven, usually five, pure 
white eggs are laid. The eggs are rounded in form with a close-grained, 
slightly glossy shell with average measurements of 1 *04 by 0*89 inches. 
Up to nine eggs have been found but this is an unusually large clutch. 
After incubation of three weeks the young are hatched naked and 
helpless, but soon acquire greyish down. The sitting female is fed 
regurgitated food by her mate. When she leaves the nest and alights 
near the male he immediately erects the red crown feathers, droops 
the wings and fluffs up the exposed rump feathers. 

At first only the female feeds regurgitated food to the newly hatched 
nestlings, but as they progress both parents assume domestic duties. 
The nestlings leave the nest after approximately five weeks and remain 
with their parents for some time thus accounting for the family parties 
often observed. 

Unfortunately, the Red-capped Parrot is more difficult than most 
Australian species to keep in captivity. Because of its magnificent 
colouring it is very desirable as an avairy bird, but disappointments 
and setbacks are often experienced before they became established. 
Newly trapped birds are wild and frightened. Adults should not be 
purchased as they rarely settle down. Aviculturists have different 
methods of treatment for young birds just incorporated into a collection, 
but the author has confidence in the following procedure. Upon 
arrival the birds should be placed in small cages about 3 by 3 by 3 feet. 
If practicable each bird should be given a cage to itself. During this 
time the flight aviaries should be prepared in the following way. 
Branches with dense foliage should be introduced thus absorbing most 
of the space in the aviary. Fish netting or similar material should be 
erected about 6 inches inside the wire of the flight. This prevents the 
birds injuring themselves by flying into the wire. After two months 
confinement under supervision in the cages the birds may be placed in 
the prepared avairies. During the next six months the branches and 
foliage may be slowly removed from the flights as the parrots settle 
down. Finally the netting may be removed and the birds left to com¬ 
plete their adjustment to captivity. Red-capped Parrots always remain 
very timid and their aviaries should have well secluded shelters into 
which they are able to retreat. 

Considering the feeding habits of this parrot in its natural state, the 
special attention given to the diet of captive birds will be well appre¬ 
ciated. Variety is the key to success in this sphere and experimentation 


210 


J. M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 


will assist in the maintaining of health of the birds. A well balanced 
diet of seeds, fruits and green food is necessary. A mixture of plain 
canary seed, sunflower seed and oats in the proportions of 2:1:1 
is most satisfactory. This should be supplemented by a daily supply of 
apples, oranges and other fruits, lettuce, chickweed, or spinach and 
cuttlefish or grit. Berries such as Hawthorn or Pyracantha are relished 
by the birds and should be given as frequently as possible. Plain cake 
soaked in milk is very beneficial when there are young in the nest. 
Finally a branch of Eucalyptus or another suitable tree should be 
always available. This enables the birds to chew the leaves and stems 
thus providing much nourishment as well as combating boredom. 

If successful breeding is to be accomplished each pair of Red-capped 
Parrots should be placed in a separate flight aviary not in close proxi¬ 
mity to aviaries containing other pairs or non-breeding individuals. 
Two or three nesting logs or boxes should be provided thus allowing 
the birds to choose their own nesting site. As soon as nesting has com¬ 
menced disturbance should be kept to an absolute minimum. Second 
broods should not be encouraged because this could detract from the 
care given to the newly fledged young by the parents and may 
jeopardize a successful breeding of this difficult species. 

As is to be expected no records of naturally occurring hybrids 
involving Purpureicephalus spurius exist. However, reliable accounts of 
hybrids in captivity have been published. A Red-capped Parrot mated 
to a Western Rosella ( Platycercus icterotis) reared two young in the U.S.A. 
in 1929. The young produced by mating with a female Crimson Rosella 
(.Platycercus elegans ) were hand reared in 1958. The plumage of these 
offspring was predominently green on the back with red markings on 
the head and rump, blue segments on the flight primaries and the 
typical blue ear-coverts of P. elegans. The breast was dull violet-grey 
with a red spot on the abdomen, while the bill was that of a typical 
Purpureicephalus . 

Undoubtedly one of the most rewarding sights for the ornithologist 
visiting the timbered areas of south-western Australia is provided by 
the Red-capped Parrots as they fly through the tree tops displaying 
their brilliant plumage. As the birds are observed feeding on the seeds 
of the Marri or drinking at the tanks and stock watering troughs, the 
good fortune of the inhabitants of the region in having in their midst 
this, one of the beautiful parrots of the world, is fully appreciated. 
Purpureicephalus spurius is truly a magnificent member of an ancient and 
regal group of birds. 

Acknowledgments 

The author wishes to thank Mr. L. S. Hall of Canberra for the line 
drawings used to illustrate this paper. Gratitude is also extended to 
Mr. R. Breeden of Busselton, W.A. for the provision of the specimens 
used in compiling data on plumage transitions. 



J. M. FORSHAW-THE PARROTS OF AUSTRALIA 


21 I 


BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Alexander, W. B. The Food of the Red-capped Parrot, Purpureicephalus spurius, 
The Emu, Vol. 29, No. 4, 1930. 

Astley, H. D. The Red-capped Parrakeet, Avicult. Mag., 3rd. Series, Vol. 11, 
No. 10, 1911. 

Bonaparte, C. L. Tableau des Perroquets, Revue et Magasin de ^oologie, 2nd Series 
No. 6, 1854. 

Cain, A. J. A Revision of Trichoglossus haematodus and of the Australian Platycercine 
Parrots, The Ibis, Vol. 97, N0.3, 1955. 

Campbell, A. J. Nests and Eggs of Australian Birds, Part II, 1901. 

Carter, T. Birds of the Broome Hill District, Part 2, The Emu, Vol. 23, No. 3, 1924. 

Commonwealth Forestry and Timber Bureau. Forest Trees of Australia, 1957. 

Condon, H. T. The Australian Broadtailed Parrots, Records of the South Australian 
Museum, Vol. 7, No. 1, 1941. 

Kuhl, H. e{ Conspectus Psittacorum ”, Nova Acta Physico-Medica, Academiae 
Caesareae Leopoldino Carolinae, Naturae Curiosorum, Vol. 10, Part 1, 1820. 

Lendon, A. H. The “ Wing-Stripe ” as an Indication of Sex and Maturity in the 
Australian Broad-tailed Parrots, Avicult. Mag., 5th Series, Vol.6, No. 5, 
I 94 I - 

Lendon, A. H. Australian Parrots in Captivity, 1951. 

McGilp, J. N. Food of the Red-capped Parrot, The Emu, Vol. 31, No. 1, 1931. 

Mathews, G. M. The Platycercine Parrots of Australia : A Study in Colour Change, 
The Ibis, 10th Series. Vol. 6, No. 1, 1918. 

—— The Birds of Australia, Vol. VI, 1917. 

-Additions and Corrections to My List of the Birds of Australia, The Austral Avian 

Record, Vol. 2, No. 7, 1915. 

North, A. J. Nests and Eggs of Birds Found Breeding in Australia and Tasmania, Vol. IV, 
1914- 

Pollard, J. Our King Parrot, Our Rural Magazine, Western Australian Department 
of Education, Vol. 12, No. 1, 1937. 

Prestwich, A. A. Aviculture in America, Avicult. Mag., 4th Series, Vol. 8, No.i, 

1930- 

Robinson, A. The Importance of the Marri as a Food Source to South-western 
Australian Birds, The Western Australian Naturalist, Vol. 7, No. 5, i960. 

Salvadori, T. Catalogue of Birds in the British Museum, Vol. XX, 1891. 

Serventy, D. L. The King Parrot of Western Australia— Purpureicephalus spurius (Kuhl 
1820), The Emu, Vol, 37, No. 3, 1938. 

——and Whittell, H. M. The Birds of Western Australia, 3rd Edition, 1962. 

Tavistock, Marquess of, and Delacour, J. Australian Parrakeets—II, The 
Platycercinae, Avicult. Mag., 4th Series, Vol. 5, No. 3, 1927. 

Van Heyst, H. P. Pileated Parrakeet X Crimson Rosella Hybrid, Avicult. Mag., 
Vol. 64, No. 2, 1958. 

Vigors, N. A. Notice on Some New Species of Birds, The Zoological Journal, Vol. 5, 
No. 18, Article 37, 1831. 

Whittel, H. M. and Serventy, D. L. A Systematic List of the Birds of Western Australia, 
1948. 


212 T. C. OLIVER-BREEDING THE LOO CHOO OR LIDTH’s JAY 


BREEDING OF THE LOO CHOO OR LIDTH’S JAY 

Lalocitta lidthi (Bonaparte) 

By Thomas C. Oliver (Head Keeper of Birds, 

Paignton Zoological and Botanical Gardens) 

A Loo Choo Jay (.Lalocitta lidthi ) was hatched on 24th April, 1964, 
in the Paignton Zoological Gardens. Its parents were part of a lot of 
four imported from dealers in Kobe, Japan, on 28th August, 1962. 

It was hatched in an aviary approximately 12x12x12 feet high 
with an inside flight of about 9x6x12 feet high. The parents chose 
to nest in a recess in the outside flight. The nest was built of small 
sticks, lined with dried moss and camel hair. We also gave them 
mud, but they did not use it. Both the cock and hen helped to build 
the nest. 

When the nest was finished the cock became very fierce, and the 
hen very timid. Up till this time they were quite tame. We do not 
know the exact incubation period. 

The only foods observed being given to the young Jay by the adults 
while in the nest were live foods, i.e. maggots, mealworms, and an 
occasional small spider. 

At the age of four weeks the young bird left the nest. Its head and 
breast were a dull grey-blue in colour. Back, flanks, and belly a dull 
brown, and wings blue. Because of the uncertain weather conditions, 
plus the fact that the nest was in a difficult position relating to perches, 
we separated the youngster from its parents and hand-reared it. 

At six weeks of age it started feeding itself first only on live food and 
after a few days on fine chopped meat, hard-boiled eggs, and finely- 
chopped mixed fruit, and Sluis with one or two mealworms per day. 
At about ten weeks old it started to gain its mature plumage. 

As described above, the Loo Choo or Lidth’s Jay (Lalocitta lidthi 
(Bonaparte)) has been bred at the Paignton Zoological Gardens. It is 
believed that this may be a first success. 

Any member or reader knowing of a previous breeding of this 
species in Great Britain or Northern Ireland is requested to communi¬ 
cate at once with the Hon. Secretary. 

* * * 

BREEDING OF THE PORT LINCOLN 
PARRAKEET 

By J. A. Cutler (Rainhill, Lancs., England) 

October, 1958, saw the introduction of a pair(?) of Port Lincoln 
Parrakeets into my aviary. After the initial settling down of the birds 
close observation convinced me that the larger one was the cock and the 







J. A. CUTLER—BREEDING THE PORT LINCOLN PARRAKEET 213 


smaller one was to be the hen. However, the following records will 
clarify this subject. 

1961. 

In 1961 the larger bird laid four eggs and incubated them for the 
complete three weeks, but alas no results. “ Well done cock P.L.” 

1962. 

This year to my amazement both birds laid four eggs each in the 
same nest-box and during the incubation period no bickering was 
noted, although these birds were sharing the box, side by side. 

1963- 

The 1963 procedure was the same as for 1962 for the parrakeets, 
but this time a certain amount of jealousy arose as to who should have 
the nest-box. 

1964. 

In March this year, I managed to obtain a cock ; this was paired 
to the large hen, the other being moved to the adjoining aviary. On 
6th April, the first egg was laid and by the 12th three more had been 
added. After fourteen days these were found to be clear, but complete 
incubation time was allowed for the hen. 

On 24th May, I decided to remove the nest-box from the pen and 
I was surprised to find five eggs, one of which seemed to be newly laid. 
Two old eggs were removed and the nest-box replaced. On 26th May 
another egg was laid and the remaining two old eggs were also 
removed. On 28th May, the nest consisted of three eggs and from this 
date the hen incubated with severe loyalty and was only seen on very 
rare occasions. 

On 18th June two young were seen and these had a smoky grey- 
green down, a colour difficult to describe. Inspection was carried out 
from time to time, but still only the two youngsters were seen, which by 
26th July had left the nest in perfect plumage, with another bird to my 
joy in the same condition, on 28th July. 

These young were very sturdy and fully coloured, identical to the 
mother, in fact to distinguish them is a very difficult task. They are 
now progressing soundly and feeding on their own. 

Interesting points noted are as follows:— 

(1) Either before or just after the first egg was laid, pebbles were 
carried into the next-box, the routine being one egg, one pebble, 
two eggs, two pebbles, but after the third egg was laid the pebbles 
could not be found ; this happened consistently also, during the 
previous years. 


214 


C. EVERITT-BREEDING THE RED-EYED BULBUL 


(2) The down of the young birds was of the odd colour described 
and not white. 

(3) This pairing was hen Barnardius zonarius to a cock Barnardius 
zonarius semi-torquatus. 

(4) All young resemble the hen, i.e. colouring and size ; all divi¬ 
sions of colour are quite distinct, unlike the cock. 

My other successes for 1964 are Redrumps, ten consisting of Yellow 
and normals, seventeen Turquosines, twenty-one Bourke’s. 

My two 1963 pairs of Stanleys made no attempt at all of going to 
nest, also an additional pair of Turquosines showed the same disinterest 
and my Blue-bonnets once again bobbed but got no further. 

Altogether, this season has given me great pleasure and satisfaction. 

Note. —27th October, 1964. These Port Lincolns are in perfect health 
and condition and have turned out to be one cock and two hens. 
Sexing is much easier when young of both sexes are together. 

* * * 

BREEDING THE RED-EYED BULBUL 

By Charles Everitt (Trenton, N.J., U.S.A.) 

It was in August i960 that a pair of Bulbuls was received by 
Mr. Boehm from one of his East African contacts. They were not too 
large, about 8 inches in total length, and were soon identified as the 
Red-eyed Bulbul— Pycnonotus nigricans. They have a fairly extensive 
range in their native land, selecting the dry inland areas from the 
eastern parts of South Africa, Cape Province, and Transvaal, through 
Bechuanaland into great Namaqualand, Damaraland, and Ovampo- 
land, all in South West Africa, to as far north as the Cubango and 
Cuando districts of Angola, their line of habitat apparently following 
the Kalahari Desert up to the Kaukau Veldt. 

So far as general coloration is concerned, the sexes are alike, but the 
female is slightly smaller. Another sex difference is in the song, both 
having clear, cheerful, liquid notes, those of the male having a slightly 
wider range. Their distinctive feature is a red wattle around the eye, 
their feather colouring being rather on the sombre side. The upper 
plumage, from the nape of the neck through to the tail, is a dark 
greenish-brown. The head, face, neck, and throat are dark brown. 
The upper chest is of the same colour as the upper parts, this blending 
in with the dark brown of the throat. The abdomen is greyish-white, 
flecked with brown, the under tail-coverts and vent feathers being 
yellow. The iris is orange to reddish-brown, the bill, legs, and feet 
being black. 




C. EVERITT-BREEDING THE RED-EYED BULBUL 


215 


After the customary time for new arrivals in the cage room, they 
were released into a planted aviary of some 60 by 20 feet, late in 
September i960. Here they settled down well with the other inmates 
which included Spreo and Royal Starlings, Scarlet Cocks of the Rock, 
Olive-flanked Robin Chats and Variegated Tits. Although there were 
nestings by other species, the Bulbuls made no such move during the 
following season. However, on 27th June, 1962, we were surprised by 
the sight of two fledglings, obviously Red-eyed Bulbuls. They were 
perching in a clump of cultivated honeysuckle and the parent birds 
did not appear to be at all perturbed at our study of the young birds. 
Although an extensive search was made of the trees, shrubs, and bushes, 
no trace of their nest was found. Unfortunately, they were not to be 
reared to independence for one was killed five days later, and the other 
the next day. It is not known who was, or were as the case may be, the 
killer, as there had been no signs of belligerence among the birds and 
such a state of content appears to continue to exist, even though new 
species in the form of Joyful Bulbuls, Hume’s Mynas, and Plumbeous 
Redstarts have since been introduced. 

The fact that the adult Red-eyed Bulbuls, now known to be a true 
pair, were still with us was some consolation, but no further broods 
were raised that year. It was in April, 1963, that they were seen to be 
constructing a nest of Spanish moss, grasses, and fibres in one of the 
topmost branches of a crab-apple tree. It was only about 9 inches below 
the curved wire roof which, at that time, was still covered with 
visqueen, a clear plastic sheeting. As this most probably had deterior¬ 
ated during the winter and was liable to let in the rain, a plywood cover 
was fitted above the nest after the first egg had been laid. The nest 
itself was an open cup, circular, with a central depression of about 
2 inches and both birds had participated in the building of it. 

The first egg, pinkish-white, copiously marked with reddish-brown 
spots and flecks, and measuring about 21 by 15 mm., was laid on 
20th April, with a second the following day. The incubation, which was 
shared, lasted for twelve to thirteen days and appeared to commence 
with the laying of the first egg. I use the term appeared for, on the 
morning inspection of the nest on 3rd May, two nestlings were found. 
One obviously had just hatched as it was smaller than the other and 
there was still a piece of eggshell in the nest. It was customary to look 
into the nest only once each day for, not only did it entail climbing the 
tree, a delicate task in itself, but also we did not wish to disturb the 
sitting birds more than necessary for general observation purposes. 

The nestlings were devoid of all body covering and had bright pink 
gapes. Their eyes were open at five days old and quills were showing in 
their wings. By a further five days they were almost fully feathered, 
being dark greenish-brown above with darker heads. On 15th May, at 
twelve to thirteen days old, they vacated the nest and were exact 


2l6 


C. EVERITT-BREEDING THE GOLDEN-CRESTED MYNA 


replicas of the two fledglings seen the previous year. The upper 
plumage was dark greenish-brown, as with the adults, the head, face, 
and neck being darker. The under-parts were a composite of clear 
yellowish-greyish-white with no fleckings. There was complete 
absence of any coloured eye-ring. Two weeks after vacating the nest 
they were feeding themselves although still not averse to accepting 
anything offered to them by their parents. Four days later they were 
caught up and placed on their own so as to avoid any repetition of the 
prior loss. By ist July, yellowish-white eye-rings were discernible, these 
gradually changing to pink by the end of the month. Now at eight 
months old, they have the same colouring throughout as the adult 
birds and, judging by their song and behaviour, it may well be that they 
are a natural pair. 

The parents reared a second round in July but, in this instance, only 
one left the nest and was reared to maturity. They had selected a fresh 
site for this nesting, at the extreme top of a tree on the other side of 
the aviary. It was completely inaccessible to us from the ground, or 
from above, so no knowledge could be gained as to the number of eggs 
etc. This third young Red-eyed Bulbul followed the same development 
pattern as the older two up to the time it was donated to the Chicago 
Zoo in November, 1963. 

One of the parent birds has since been killed, but it is hoped to be 
able to make up a true pair, for the 1964 breeding season, out of the 
two yearling birds and the surviving adult, which is, we think, the 
female. I have not been able to find any previous detailed report of the 
breeding of this species and any information on this would be most 
welcome. 

* * * 

BREEDING THE GOLDEN-CRESTED MYNA 

By Charles Everitt (Trenton, N.J., U.S.A.) 

One of the less frequently imported, and yet one of the most striking 
in appearance, the Golden-crested Myna —Mino coronatus, also classi¬ 
fied by authorities in the genus Ampeliceps —is fairly common in northern 
Thailand, is a resident of the Tenasserim district of Burma, and may 
also be found, in smaller numbers, in Laos, Vietnam, and the Malay 
Peninsula. 

About 8^ inches in total length, the adult male has clear yellow 
feathering on the crown of the head, the face, chin, throat, and in a 
broad wing patch. The long crest, lying flat on the head, also is yellow. 
Further, there is a bare patch of yellow skin around the eye. The bill 
is bright orange, the legs and feet being of the same colour, but duller. 
The remainder of the plumage is glossy black. The female is very 
similar, except that the crest is not as long, and the yellow of the 




C. EVERITT-BREEDING THE GOLDEN-CRESTED MYNA 


217 


under parts is confined to the chin, the throat being black. In addition, 
the group of yellow bristly feathers at the base of the upper mandible 
is not as distinct as that of the male. 

A pair of these birds were received by Mr. Boehm from Burma in 
April, 1962, and, after an adequate time in a reception pen for 
acclimatisation, were released into a planted aviary in August of the 
same year. Sharing this accommodation with a pair each of Striped 
Kingfishers and Natal Robins, they settled down well in their new 
surroundings, their diet consisting of chopped, mixed fruits, a soft-food 
mixture, and ground raw beef. To this was added a liberal supply 
daily of mealworms for, like all Grackles, they are avid insect eaters. 

Although tree stumps with natural nesting holes were positioned in 
the aviary, as an additional inducement to nest, a covered box, 
18 inches high by 9 inches square, with a 2^-inch entrance hole in the 
front, near the top, was secured in there also at about 8 feet above 
ground level. It was in May, 1963, that the female was seen to be 
taking pieces of twig, coarse grass, and fresh leaves into this box. 
Three eggs were laid, the first on 10th May, but they all proved to be 
clear so were used to obtain the following data. Averaging in measure¬ 
ment 32 by 19 mm., they were pale blue with, on two of them, a few 
fine, brown markings, mainly at the thicker end, the third being a 
perfectly clear pale blue. 

On 24th June, she laid again, once more a clutch of three, of which 
one was completely unmarked. Although the incubation, lasting for 
fourteen days, appeared to have been by the female only, I cannot be 
sure on this point as the sitting bird vacated the nest at the first sound 
of any approaching footsteps. However, I do assume it was a feminine 
task entirely for, whilst in an adjoining aviary, the only bird I ever saw 
to enter or leave the nest-box during the incubation period was the 
female. One egg fully hatched on 8th July, but, although the other 
eggs were fertile, and contained live chicks that started to cut their way 
out, the female discarded these eggs from the nest and concentrated 
on rearing the one solitary nestling. 

It was completely devoid of any body fluff, had a bright pink, bare 
skin, with a yellow gape, margined in orange-yellow. The male now 
began to enter the nest, for the rearing, mainly with live-food for the 
first seven days or so, was shared. Although the eyes were open at six 
days, only dark markings could be seen under the skin and it was not 
until about the eleventh day that quill feathers were visible. It has been 
said that the young of Golden-crested Mynas have all-black heads, but 
such was not the case with this particular nestling for, at eighteen days 
old, yellow feathering was showing on the brow. Vacating the nest at 
twenty-three days, it had the beginnings of a distinct yellow cap, a 
yellow chin patch, and pale yellow barrings in the wings. 

Independence was gained at five weeks old and all three birds lived 


218 W. GEWALT-FIRST SUCCESS IN ZOO-BREEDING GREAT BUSTARDS 


congenially together for a further six months. By that time it was 
apparent that the young bird was a male, and as the adult of the same 
sex began to chase it away from the feeding stand, it was removed to 
one of the stock pens. Within a further two weeks the female had laid 
again, two eggs only this time, both clear. 

As this first breeding has turned out to be a male, careful observation 
will be kept on any future young so as to determine if there is any 
difference in the fledgling feathering of the sexes, that is, of course, 
if we are fortunate enough to produce a female. 

Note .—Six young, three of each sex, were raised in 1964. 

* * * 

THE FIRST SUCCESS IN ZOO-BREEDING 
GREAT BUSTARDS 

(Otis tarda) 

By Dr. Wolfgang Gewalt (West Berlin Zoo, Germany) 

In Vol. 68, No. 5, of this Magazine we recorded our efforts in 
breeding Great Bustards in captivity. We had three chicks in the 1962 
and five chicks in the 1963 breeding season which hatched out from 
some eggs laid in the West Berlin Zoo Bustard enclosure, but it was 
impossible to keep them alive for more than five days. Whether the 
young ones were hand-reared or fed by their natural mother, the 
unsatisfying result was the same. 

In 1964 our flock of Great Bustards consisted of three males (8, 2, 
and 1 years old) and of eight females (12, 10, 8, 4, 4, 1, 1, and 1 years 
old). Most of them were hand-reared from eggs found in the wild. 
The birds live in a grassy enclosure measuring 1,000 square metres in 
which are some trees and bushes. On the visitors’ side, the paddock is 
protected by a hedge. During cold or rainy weather the Bustards can 
be driven into a stable divided into single boxes. 

Unfortunately at the beginning of the 1964 laying period a mature 
female was killed by a cock and a second female we lost due to indiges¬ 
tion. Only eight eggs were laid in the shallow sandy nests, and as usual, ! 
put under sitting domestic hens. The chief cock carried out a wonderful j 
display all the time and was extraordinarily aggressive. After an 
incubation period of between twenty-two and twenty-three days only 
three chicks hatched out. In one egg the embryo died, the others were ! 
infertile. The chicks weighed 75 to 80 grammes, rather less than free-born 
young which weigh up to 100 grammes and more. The first chick 
hatched died at seven days old from gut blockage and stomach over- 
loading. Like young Cranes, the Bustard chicks do not eat inde- | 




— 


Avigult. Mag, 



[To face p. 218 


Great Bustard Cock in Full Display in the West Berlin Zoo. 














Avicult. Mag. 



Copyright\ [Wolfgang Gewalt 


A Great Bustard Chick, Born in the West Berlin Zoo, 
Three Weeks Old. 


[To face p. 219 


HEINZ-GEORG KLOS-NEWS FROM BERLIN ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS 2ig 

pendently during the first weeks of their life, and have to be fed by 
means of forceps with grasshoppers and other live insects, small pieces 
of meat, boiled potatoes, and chickweed leaves. The remaining two 
chicks, born on 7th and 8th June, 1964, did well. Surviving the first 
ten critical days in an infra-red-heated box, as usual carefully supplied 
with vitamins and the important manganese (manganese prevents the 
deforming leg weakness/slipped tendon), they progressed well right up 
to now. On 20th July, 1964, their weight was 1,850 and 1,100 grammes. 

As far as we know this should be the first complete success in zoo¬ 
breeding Great Bustards in the world. 

REFERENCES 

Gewalt, W., 1958. t)ber Wachstumstorungen und einem Fall vermutlicher Perosis 
bei der Aufzucht eines GroBtrappenhahns ( Otis tarda L.). Zool. Garten 
(NF) 24. 

-1959* Die GroBtrappe. Wittenberg. 

-1962a. New efforts in Breeding the Great Bustards (Otis tarda L.). Avicult. 

Mag., 68/5. 

-- 1962 b. Zuchtversucher mit der GroBtrappe. Gef. Welt 11. 

-1963a. Neue Beitr&ge z. Brutbiologie d. GroBtrappe ( Otis t. tarda L.) Beitr. z. 

Vogelkde. 9. 

-1963&. GroBtrappen-Zuchtversuche im Berliner Zoologischen Garten. Kolner 

Zoo-Ztschr. 6/3. 

-1963c. Breeding the Great Bustard ( Otis tarda) in Captivity. Intern. £oo-Year¬ 
book, 4. 

--1964. Die GroBtrappe — Zuchtversuche mit Europas groBtem Wildvogel. 

Vogelkosmos 1 /^. 

* * * 

NEWS FROM THE BERLIN ZOOLOGICAL 
GARDENS 

By Dr. Heinz-Georg Klos, Director 

The 1964 breeding season at the West Berlin Zoo has again been a 
very successful one. 

The most remarkable results were achieved in our Pelican breeding 
colony. As in former years some birds built nests and made breeding 
attempts in late April, but this time an egg was discovered in May in the 
nest of our pair of American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchus). 
Brooding in turn both birds defended their nest violently against other 
Pelicans making nesting attempts in the colony. The nest was situated 
on a platform about 10 inches above the water level, on a small island 
in the neighbourhood of a cormorant breeding colony, at a distance of 
about 30 feet from the visitors. On 19th June the young one hatched. 
Compared with its swan-sized parents it was amazingly small, but 
during the next weeks it grew up very rapidly. After a few days it was 
covered with snowy-white down plumage, and on 18th June the black 
pinions appeared. After six weeks the young had nearly reached the 


220 HEINZ-GEORG KLOS-NEWS FROM BERLIN ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS 

size of a goose and was leaving the nest for greater excursions, still 
jealously protected by its parents. On 6th August it went into the water 
for the first time, swimming perfectly. Now at an age of three months, 
the young one is hardly distinguishable from the adults. Only the bill 
is smaller and bill and feet are paler than those of the parents. 

At the beginning of July other Pelican species (P. onocrotalus , P. cris- 
pus, P. rufescens) also built their nests on the platform and were sitting 
on eggs. They were partly mixed pairs, e.g. P. onocrotalus X P. rufescens 
and P. crispus X P. rufescens. At the same time two young cormorants 
hatched. On ioth August a young one was discovered in the nest of a 
pair of European White Pelicans (P. onocrotalus) being of the same size 
as the young P. erythrorhynchus was. It grew up in the same way, but was 
covered with a blackish down plumage and was quite different in its 
appearance. It is still doing well. 

All the other Pelican eggs did not develop and were lost after some 
time. 

Breeding Pelicans in captivity is still a rare event. While European 
White Pelicans had been bred at the zoo of Rotterdam by the end of 
the last century, at the Basle Zoo in 1930, and four times at the Tierpark 
Berlin-Friedrichsfelde in 1961-63, this is to the best of our knowledge 
the first rearing of an American White Pelican in a European zoo. 
At the National Zoological Park, Washington, D.C., American White 
Pelicans hatched in 1914, 1928, 1930, and 1931, and a P. erythrorhyn¬ 
chus X occidentalis hybrid, hatched in 1934 and lived in the Zoo until 
1943. To our knowledge pelicans have also been bred at the San 
Antonio Zoo, Texas, but we have no records of it. 

In our Flamingo colony, 1963 the first young flamingo in Germany, 
a Phoenicopterus ruber roseus, had been reared (see Avicult. Mag., 
Vol. 69, 6, 1963), between 30th April and 6th June, 1964, altogether 
twelve Chilean and eight European Flamingo eggs had been laid. At 
most eighteen birds were sitting on eggs at the same time. There were 
three main parts of the colony, two of them consisting of Chileans and 
one of Europeans. Flowever, all the eggs did not develop. Some of them 
disappeared after some time, but most were secured after being- 
incubated for too long, and proved to be infertile. On 31st July one 
chilensis and two roseus eggs were laid and two other eggs were found in 
the water. At the beginning of August three pairs of roseus and one pair 
of chilensis were again sitting persistently on eggs. On 28th August, the 
first European Flamingo chicken hatched and on 7th September the 
second. Both chicks are doing well, being now three and two weeks old, 
but on account of the very cold and rainy autumn weather it must be 
feared that they will not survive. 

A lot of interesting birds have hatched in our incubators and were 
reared artificially by our head-keeper, Mrs. Johst, among them six 
Rheas, one Paradise Crane, one Black-backed Radjah Shelduck (to our 



HEINZ-GEORG KLOS—NEWS FROM BERLIN ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS 22 I 


knowledge the first ever bred in captivity), ten Ocellated Turkeys, and 
one Black Vulture, which had to be fed on predigested meat and fish. 
Furthermore : five Chilean Pintails, three European Wigeons, 330 
Mallards, fifteen Australian Black Ducks, thirty-two Spot-billed Ducks, 
twenty Red-crested Pochards, eight Rosy-billed Pochards, four Eiders, 
seven Tufted Ducks, one European Golden-eye, eighteen Wood Ducks, 
five Mandarin Ducks, one Canada Goose, two Cackling Canada Geese, 
one Common Shelduck, five Ruddy Shelducks, three Snow Geese, 
three Bar-headed Geese, two Emperor Geese, one Magellan Goose, 
four Rock Bush Quails, two painted Quails, eight Common Impeyans, 
seventy-four Wild Turkeys, thirty-three Korean Ring-necked Pheasants 
six Reeves’s Pheasants, eight California Quails, and two Australian 
Crested Pigeons. 

Our successful breeding pair of Snowy Owls, which have been in the 
Zoo since 1958 and 1959, again reared four young ones. A report on the 
first successful breeding of Great Bustards in captivity is published in 
this issue of the Avicultural Magazine. In the large walk-through 
aviary of our Bird House the Rufous-winged Kiskadees (.Pitangus 
sulfuratus) successfully reared two young ones. A Red-eared Bulbul 
hatched on 28th June, but was killed by other birds, probably by the 
Drongos or Kiskadees. The great Crowned Pigeons, which had reared 
a young one in March, 1964, in the walk-through aviary, were sitting 
on an egg again in August. The young one hatched on 30th August, but 
unfortunately died one day later by falling out of the nest. 

In the Pheasantry the first young Brush Turkey in the Berlin Zoo 
since the war came out of the large breeding mound, erected by the 
cock. It was self-supporting and able to flutter about from the first 
moment of its life. 

Among the many new arrivals the following may be worth men¬ 
tioning : one Brown Pelican, four Blue-winged Teals, ten Brent Geese, 
two Common Sun Bitterns, two Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, one Great 
Bustard (an adult male, found at night in a stadium in the centre of the 
city), seven American Flamingos, one Bittern, two Squacco Herons, two 
Black-headed Herons, one Great White Heron, four Little Egrets, 
two Spoonbills, one American Wood Ibis, four Indian Painted Storks, 
two Crested Wood Partridges, four Palawan Peacock Pheasants, two 
Wonga-wonga Pigeons, two Plumed Pigeons, one Monkey-eating 
Eagle, two Malayan Scops Owls, one Red-crested Cockatoo, two 
Hyacinthine Macaws, two Senegal Parrots, one Violet-crested Turaco, 
two Green-billed Toucans, two Black Hornbills (Anthracoceros malayanus) 
nine Hummingbirds of different species, one female Peruvian Cock of 
the Rock, two Rothschild’s Mynas, two Montezuma Oropendolas, 
three Bearded Tits, and two Orange-breasted Flower-peckers. 


222 W. GRUMMT-BREEDING THE AFRICAN CATTLE EGRET 

SOME NOTES ON THE BREEDING OF THE 
AFRICAN CATTLE EGRET 

By Wolfgang Grummt (Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde, Germany) 

Yealland has described the successful breeding of the African Cattle 
Egret (. Ardeolai . ibis) in Regents Park (Avicult. Mag., Vol. 70, 21-22). 
In 1958 the Berlin Tierpark received thirty-two Cattle Egrets, all 
young birds, from Cairo of which four died soon after arrival. In 1959 
the birds were placed in the new heron aviary, the outside flight of which 
is 13 by 10 metres and 6 metres high and the smaller inside flight 
6 • 20 by 3 • 85 metres and 3 • 6 metres high. In the outside flight there are 
three trees for nests and the ground is covered with grass with a small 
area of sand and a pool of water. 

In addition to the Cattle Egrets there were also the following species 
in the aviary : Chinese Pond Herons ( Ardeola bacchus ), Squacco Herons 
(A. ralloides ), Little Egrets (Egretta garzetta), Snowy Egrets ( Leucophoyx 
thula ), Boat-bill Herons ( Cochlearius cochlearius) , Scarlet Ibis ( Eudocimus 
ruber) and Glossy Ibis ( Plegadis falcinellus) . In addition there were a few 
waders such as Curlew, Whimbrel, Grey and Golden Plovers, Lapwings, 
Ruffs, and Avocets. 

In winter only the Cattle, Little, and Snowy Egrets were left in the 
aviary while the other birds were placed elsewhere. 

A few pairs of Cattle Egrets already started building nests in the 
winter of 1959-60. In the relatively narrow aviary there were naturally 
continual disputes for nesting material and nesting sites. On 8th March, 
i960, the first pair laid and by the end of that month six pairs had full 
clutches of two to three eggs. At the beginning of April the first nests 
were built in the outer flight and there were soon some clutches here 
also. On 31st March the first egg hatched. So far as we could establish 
in i960 altogether forty-two Cattle Egrets hatched of which thirty-two 
youngsters were reared. By 1963, ninety-four Cattle Egrets had fledged 
and in February, 1964, there were already seven half-fledged birds in 
nests in addition to several brooding pairs. 

So far egg-laying has taken place from December to August, chiefly 
from January to June. Full clutches usually consist of three to four 
eggs and only once was there a clutch of two eggs, but possibly 
in this case an egg was broken or fell out of the nest. Of sixty-four 
clutches kept under observation, fifty-four contained three eggs each, 
nine, four eggs and in only one clutch was there two eggs. Laying took 
place at intervals of two days and as the adults began brooding after 
the laying of the first egg the young also hatched out at intervals of two 
days. Incubation lasted from twenty-three to twenty-four days and 
sometimes one or two eggs were infertile. It often happened that the 
young last hatched died during the first few days. In fifty-two successful 
broods kept under observation the number of young hatched amounted 




Avicult. Mag, 



[To face p. 222 


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Left to right : Mr. W. R. Partridge, Miss E. M. Knobel (President), Mrs. Helen Boehm. 












BRITISH AVICULTURISTS’ CLUB 


223 


in twenty-nine cases to two young, sixteen times three young, twice 
four young, and five times one young. Four young in a nest never 
fledged. Once a young bird of four days old lay dead under the nest 
while the remaining three fledged. In the second nest with four young, 
one also died. Of 119 chicks hatched, a total of ninety-four fledged, 
that is 79 per cent. The observation of the nests was chiefly carried out 
by Keeper G. Graunke. 

In 1961 a male Snowy Egret paired with a female Little Egret and 
hatched two young which were successfully reared. In 1963 Little 
Egrets were also successfully reared. Glossy Ibis also bred for several 
years, but unfortunately the young died before they fledged. 

The Egrets were fed as follows : to the basic food which consists 
of soft Pheasant food crushed shrimps were added and in addition 
both raw and cooked meat were mixed in. Fish was either cut into 
small pieces or minced in the meat-mincer and mixed with the basic food. 
As soon as the young Cattle Egrets were hatched they were also fed with 
mealworms and ants 5 eggs. In the warm period of the year the Cattle 
Egrets fed their young with many insects especially flies which they 
caught themselves. As at the beginning of winter these birds often show 
a Vitamin B deficiency so Vitamin B Complex is added to the food. 

African Cattle Egrets have also been regularly and successfully 
reared at the Biological Station Wilhelminenberg. According to infor¬ 
mation in the International Z 00 Tear Book, Vols. II and III (i960, 1961), 
they have also been reared at the Jerez (Spain) and Paris zoos. Indian 
Cattle Egrets have been bred and reared several times in recent years 
in the Dresden Zoo. 

* * * 

BRITISH AVICULTURISTS’ CLUB 

The eighty-fifth meeting of the Club was held at the Windsor Hotel, 
Lancaster Gate, London, W. 2, on Monday, 14th September, 1964, 
following a dinner at 7 p.m. 

Chairman : Mr. K. A. Norris. 

Members of the Club : Mrs. D. Ashken, Miss P. Barclay-Smith, 
P. S. Bates, A. W. Bolton, Miss K. Bonner, M. K. Boorer, R. D. 
Chancellor, R. A. Chester, Lt.-Col. H. W. Clayden, J. E. Collins, 

R. A. Copley, J. H. B. Crofts, W. D. Cummings, E. A. Dracup, 
O. E. Dunmore, M. D. England, Miss R. Ezra, Mrs. R. Goodman, 
Dr. R. Gottlieb, J. Hancock, L. W. Hill, Dr. E. Hindle, F. E. B. 
Johnson, Dr. S. B. Kendall, A. E. King, Miss E. M. Knobel, J. 
Kuttner, C. Marler, R. F. Marshall, P. H. Maxwell, F. Mosford, 

S. Murray, Sir Crawford McCullagh, Bt., J. A. Page, W. R. Partridge, 
A. A. Prestwich, D. M. Reid-Henry, R. L. Restall, B. E. Robinson, 
R. C. J. Sawyer, K. M. Scamell, Mrs. K. M. Scamell, E. O. Squire, 
N. R. Steel, A. J. Swain, Mrs. R. Upton, P. L. Wayre, J. J. Yealland. 
18 


224 


COUNCIL MEETING 


Members of the Club, forty-nine ; guests, twenty-nine ; total 
seventy-eight. 

The President of the Avicultural Society, Miss E. Maud Knobel, 
presented the Society’s Medal to Mr. W. R. Partridge for the first 
breeding of the Greater Patagonian Conure and of the Cayenne 
Seedeater. 

The Club’s traditional birthday cakes were presented to Miss K. 
Bonner, Sir Crawford McCullagh, Bt., and Mr. K. A. Norris. 

Mrs. Edward Marshall Boehm showed two colour films : “ The 
Wonder of the Birds ” and “ Boehm’s Birds 

The date of the next meeting is Monday, 9th November, 1964, 

Arthur A. Prestwigh, 

Hon. Secretary. 

* * * 

COUNCIL MEETING 

A Council Meeting was held on 14th September, 1964, at the 
Windsor Hotel, Lancaster Gate, London, W. 2. 

The following members were present :— 

Miss E. Maud Knobel, President, in the Chair. 

Sir Crawford McCullagh, Bt., Vice-President. 

Miss P. Barclay-Smith, Miss K. Bonner, Mr. W. D. Cummings, 
Miss R. Ezra, Mr. L. W. Hill, Mr. F. E. B. Johnson, Mr. F. Mosford, 
Mr. E. O. Squire, Mr. N. R. Steel, Mr. J. J. Yealland, and Mr. A. A. 
Prestwich, Hon. Secretary. 

The Society’s Medal 

The Society’s Medal was awarded to :— 

Sir Richard Cotterell, Bt., for breeding the Vinaceous Firefinch, 
Lagonosticta vinacea , in 1963. 

W. R. Partridge, for breeding the Cayenne Seedeater, Sporophila 
frontalis , in 1962. 

W. R. Partridge, for breeding the Greater Patagonian Conure, 
Cyanoliseus byroni , in 1963. 

G. E. Whitmore, for breeding the Thick-billed Green Pigeon, 
Treron curvirostra, in 1964. 

Officers for 1965 

There were the following retirements and appointments :— 

Council : Mr. A. Lamb, Mr. D. H. S. Risdon, and Mr. T. Spence 
retired by rotation. 

Mr. A. A. Prestwich retired on election as a Vice-President. 

Mr. F. T. Jones, Mr. W. R. Partridge, Mr. R. C. J. Sawyer, and 
Mr. P. L. Wayre were elected to fill the vacancies. 

Arthur A. Prestwich, 

Hon. Secretary. 



LONDON ZOO NOTES 


225 


LONDON ZOO NOTES 

By J. J. Yealland 

A second consignment of birds and mammals recently presented by 
Dr. K. G. Searle contained a specimen of the eastern race of Great 
White Heron or Egret (Egretta alba modesta), not previously in the col¬ 
lection. He also sent six Chinese Pond Herons, a Yellow-billed Egret, 
two Watercocks, and a Black-headed Oriole. 

A Pale-billed Grey Shrike ( Lanius excubitor pallidirostris) collected in 
Kuwait and also new to the collection, a female Painted Spurfowl bred 
by Mr. A. J. Swain, an Abyssinian Lovebird and a pair of Quail 
Finches ( Ortygospiza atricollis ) have been presented. 

A Great Black-backed Gull, two Herring Gulls, two more Mealy 
Rosella Parrakeets and a Barn Owl are among the birds bred in the 
Gardens. 

Two Aharoni’s Eagle Owls ( Bubo bubo interpositus) have died after 
being in the Gardens for twenty-six years. 

* * * 

NEWS AND VIEWS 

George Waterston has been appointed O.B.E. for services to 
ornithology in Scotland. 

* * * 

Ronald L. Blakely, former Curator of Birds, Chicago Zoological 
Park, is now Associate Director, Collection. 

* * * 

The Bronze Medal of the Avicultural Society of South Australia has 
been awarded to Robert R. Rymill, for breeding the Coot Fulica atra. 

* * * 

R. T. Bloom, formerly Curator of Mammals, Chester Zoo, is now 
Superintendent at the Flamingo Park Zoo. 

A. W. Fletcher has resigned his position as Curator of Birds, Chester 
Zoo. 

* * * 

R. T. Kyme writes : “ My breeding season has been only fair for I 
have been troubled with egg-binding. I have, however, reared one 
Pennant, two Mealies, seven Stanleys, four Golden-mantled Rosellas 
and one Red-rumped. My green/lutino Ringneck cock with lutino hen 
had three eggs but they were clear ”. 



226 


NEWS AND VIEWS 


Interesting breeding events. W. H. Rose, White-cheeked Touraco, 
one and two reared. B. E. Robinson, Rock Grass Parrakeet, one young 
one reared until it was just feathering up when the parents deserted it. 
A. V. Griffiths, Blue-eyed Cockatoo, one young one in the nest now six 
weeks old. A. J. Swain, Painted Spurfowl, three of a brood of four 
reared by the parents. 

* * * 

On 22nd September, Vice-President and Mrs. G. S. Mottershead 
left on a world tour of zoos, game parks and reserves. Their journey ings 
will take them to America, Canada, Australia, New Guinea, and New 
Zealand, before returning via Mauritius, South Africa and Kenya. 
Whilst in Sydney Mr. Mottershead will preside at the annual 
conference of the International Union of Directors of Zoological 
Gardens. 

* * * 

Ralph Small, in charge of the parrots at the Chicago Zoological 
Park, writes : “A Red and Yellow Macaw paired with a female Blue 
and Yellow. I hand-raised one baby from the egg and it is now ninety 
days old. Three more babies were hatched in a later nest, and although 
the youngest one died the two others are now five weeks old and it 
looks as though they should be raised 55 . 

* * * 

Two Crested Screamers Chauna cristata have been hatched at the 
Wildfowl Trust, Slimbridge. This is a somewhat uncommon breeding. 
It was bred at the London Zoo in 1904, for the first time in Europe. 
Three young were hatched ; one was trodden on and killed by one of 
its parents the same day that it was hatched, but the other two were 
fully reared. Four more were bred in 1905, two in 1906, and one in 
1913. In the last year three were hatched but two were crushed by the 
parents. Jean Delacour reared one young one, of four hatched, in 1922. 

* * * 

J. D. Money, Agent, Leeds Castle, Maidstone, reports a cross 
between a White-headed Nun and a Chestnut-breasted Finch. He 
writes : “ The White-headed Nun appears to be the male parent. 
The pair laid two batches of eggs. From the first they hatched and 
reared three. The second lot of babies had to be brought up under 
Bengalese, and there are three of these. This was owing to the fact that 
we had to empty the aviary due to overcrowding ”. This would appear 
to be the first time this hybrid has been recorded for Great Britain. 
Page, Butler, and Neunzig all give the cross Chestnut Finch X Maja 
as having been bred both ways abroad. 




NEWS AND VIEWS 


227 


At the end of July three young Ospreys left the eyrie at Loch Garten. 
The Osprey family was watched from a hidden observation post by 
more than 21,000 visitors. 

* * * 

According to the Fifteenth Annual Report of the Wildfowl Trust , 1962-63. 
the world population of the Hawaiian Goose in January was between 
380 and 430 : 250 to 300 in Hawaii, 84 in England, 22 in Europe, and 
29 in North America. The results of the rearing programme at 
Slimbridge were disappointing ; from 120 eggs only twenty goslings 
were hatched, of which sixteen were reared. 

* * * 

The colony of Night Herons in the Scottish National Zoological 

Park, Edinburgh, continues to maintain its numbers at about forty 
birds. The Director-Secretary, G. D. Fisher, writes in the Report : 
“ Five nests were again occupied. ... So far as could be ascertained 
the broods of these nests were all successfully reared, adding approxi¬ 
mately fifteen young birds to the colony’s strength. As this appears to 
remain the same, it is indicated that the number of deaths among adult 
birds equals the number of young birds hatched and reared ; and as 
dead birds are not found within the Park it is assumed that the older 
herons succumb during their nocturnal visits to more distant feeding 
grounds in the surrounding countryside. ” 

* * * 

F. C. Astles who has spent a lifetime breeding British birds and their 
hybrids has after very many years’ endeavour succeeded in rearing 
Mealy X Lesser Redpolls. One young one was reared in the first nest. 
Concerning the second, Astles writes : “ Four glorious young reared 
in the second round. Average price, when you and I were young, 3 d. ! 
No king on his coronation felt prouder. Several more nests of hybrids, 
including five Linnet-Goldies. True species seem so simple now. ” 

* * * 

Newton Capron, Lake Worth, Florida, reports : “ This year was in 
some respects a poor year for breeding results, with a few exceptions. 
I raised three lovely blue Ringnecks to the age of three months, only 
to lose one of them from a broken neck. 

Australian Kings did quite well as far as eggs went, but neither of 
the hens would sit. So between three pairs and a single hen—all 
Princess of Wales—seven were hatched and six hand-raised. They are 
delightfully tame. Of the six, one has salmon, instead of red, under 
colouring (it looks now as if the salmon is being replaced by red), 
another had a very few red feathers on the forehead, and still another 
shows the light wing-bars as in the mature male ”. 


A. A. P. 


228 


REVIEWS 


REVIEWS 

THE WORLD OF BIRDS. A Comprehensive Guide to General 
Ornithology. By James Fisher and Roger Tory Peterson. 
Macdonald and Co. (Publishers), Ltd., London, 1964. Price 
5 guineas net. 

This is certainly the most comprehensive guide to general ornithology 
that has yet been published and contains a wealth of information on 
every conceivable aspect of the subject. Both the authors are ornitho¬ 
logists of international repute and the amount of knowledge and 
industry that has gone into the production of this book is astounding. 
There are many original ideas and treatments such as the descriptions, 
diagrams, and illustrations on Distribution and Bird Variety ; Birds 
on the Tree of Life (including a family tree, and relationship) ; 
Distribution of Birds (including altitudinal zonation, population, and 
changing numbers), to mention only a few. 

The section entitled The Regiment of Birds, with maps of the 
families, is outstanding. Aviculture is dealt with in the chapter on 
Birds and Men and is confined to tracing the rise of aviculture from 
the time of ancient Egypt and references in general terms to present- 
day activities. A list of the oldest surviving zoos with the date of their 
foundation is included. 

Roger Tory Peterson’s superb illustrations have been very well 
reproduced and the set-out of the book is beautifully designed. The 
most difficult thing to understand is how the publishers were able to 
put this book on the market for the low price of 5 guineas ! 

P. B.-S. 

INSTRUCTIONS TO YOUNG ORNITHOLOGISTS. BIRDS’ 
NESTS AND EGGS. By C. J. O. Harrison. Museum Press, 
Ltd., London, 1964. Price 15^. net. 

This is the fifth of a series of excellent books. In his preface 
Mr. Harrison says : “ We have come to realize that the egg is not 
merely a dry and empty shell that looks rather nice arranged on a layer 
of cotton wool. The egg is a living thing, produced by a living bird, 
cared for by it, and the thing from which, in a short time, a living 
bird will emerge.” This is the fundamental approach of this sympa¬ 
thetic and charmingly written book of six chapters—Why an Egg ; 
The Nest, its Evolution and Usefulness ; The Structure of the Egg ; 
The Egg in the Nest ; The Egg as a Living Thing ; Eggs and Man. 
Mr. Harrison imparts a great deal of information in a most readable 
way and the book is well illustrated with excellent photographs, the 
majority of them by Eric Hosking. Aviculturists, most of whose main 
object is to secure successful emergence from eggs, will want this book 
(even if they are not young ornithologists) which is written by a fellow 
aviculturist. P. B.-S. 




CORRESPONDENCE 


229 


NOTES 

Breeding the Red-billed Weaver (Quelea quelea ). 

This year we have bred the Red-billed Weaver (Quelea quelea ). 

The Weavers are kept in a long flight aviary with a shelter at one end. In this 
aviary we exhibit twenty-five species of birds, including five species of Weaver. The 
four Red-billed Weavers arrived in September, 1961, and many nests have been built 
by them and a few eggs laid, but these were usually destroyed by other birds. 

Following our usual practice the birds were disturbed as little as possible and a 
young Red-billed Weaver was first heard calling for food about 10th July, 1964. On 
16th July one egg was removed from the nest—it was a bluish-green colour with small 
brown markings. Other species of weavers as well as both parents were seen to feed the 
young one, especially the Rufous-necked. In addition to the usual seed mixture and 
green food, live food was fed to the parents. This was regurgitated for the young 
bird, the adult clinging upside down onto the nest. The young Weaver called loudly 
while being fed. It resembles the female in colour and left the nest about 22nd July and 
has now settled down well with the others. 

M. F. Coupe, 

Section Officer—Chester <00. 


* * * 


CORRESPONDENCE 

THE PORT LINCOLN PARROT 

The weaknesses in the trend of subjugating acknowledged species to sub-species 
(especially those easily identified in the field by the most inexpert observer) is graphi¬ 
cally demonstrated in the otherwise excellent articles of Joseph M. Forshaw when, in 
the March-April, 1964, Avicultural Magazine, he attempts to describe in detail, 
two very different birds in one fell swoop. 

A feather by feather description of the bird so well known to ornithologists and 
aviculturists as the Port Lincoln Parrot just does not apply to the vastly bigger and 
quite differently coloured birds we know as Twenty-Eights, nor would an intelligent 
description of the latter apply to the Port Lincoln. 

From this emerges one of two things : any description of the black-headed members 
of the genus Barnardius is superfluous when applied en globo or two valid species exist. 


Culwulla Private Bay, 
Inverell, N.S.W., 
Australia. 


A. C. Hunt. 





























.. 











































INDEX 


Ardeola ibis, 21. 

Artamus per sonata, Note on, 186. 
Australia, Parrots, 59, 136, 201. 
Avicultural Magazine, Early volumes 
being reprinted, 75. 

Avicultural Society :— 

Accounts, 78. 

Certificate of merit award, 114. 
Council Meeting, 114, 224. 

Medal awards, 224. 

Officers for 1964, 31. 

_ „ „ 1965, 224. 

Avicultural Society of America, Officers 
elected, 32. 

Avicultural Society of S. Australia :— 
Medal awards, 32, 74, 225. 

Barnardius zonarius, Note on, 59. 

Berlin Zoo, News from, 29, 147, 219. 

Blue Bird, Fairy, Breeding the, 18. 

,, ,, ,, Aviary, 19. 

,, ,, ,, Classification, 19. 

„ „ „ Eggs, 20. 

,, ,, ,, Hatched, 150. 

,, ,, ,, Nestlings, 20. 

,, ,, ,, Plumage, 18. 

Boaden, I., Awarded medal, 74. 
Bombycilla garrulus, Breeding of, 191. 
Breeding notes :— 

Adelaide Zoo, 33. 

Fell, J. A., 151. 

Keston Bird Farm, 56. 

Lucas, C., 76. 

Miscellaneous, 32, 149, 150, 190, 225, 
226, 227. 

Natal Zoo, 56. 

British Aviculturists’ Club, 31, 74, 114, 
223. 

Bubulcus ibis, Breeding of, 21. 

Bulbul, Red-eyed, Breeding the, 214. 

,, ,, ,, Aviary, 215. 

,, ,, ,, Description, 214. 

,, ,, ,, Distribution, 214. 

» „ „ Eggs,215. 

,, ,, ,, Nestlings, 215. 

Bustards, Great, Bred in W. Berlin Zoo, 
218. 

,, ,, ,, Chicks, 218. 

,, ,, ,, ,, Feeding, 219. 

Butcher-bird, Grey, Medal awarded for 
breeding, 32. 

Cahill, L. W., New appointment, 189. 
California aviaries, 177. 

,, ,, Francolins reared, 178. 

,, ,, Partridges reared, 178. 

,, ,, Quails reared, 179. 

,, ,, Species kept, 179. 

Callipepla californica. Note on, 1. 

Chaetopus adspersus, Breeding of, 72. 


Chalcomitra senegalensis gutturalis, A near 
miss at breeding, 166. 

Chat, Blue Snow, Note on, 79. 

Chester Zoo, Annual visit, 190. 

,, ,, New Tropical House, 171. 

,, ,, News from, 38. 

Chlorocichla l. latissima. Breeding of, 170. 
Cockatoos, Notes on, 26. 

Conure, Greater Patagonian, Probable 
first breeding, 109. 

,, ,, ,, ,, Medal award, 224. 

,, ,, ,, Description, 109. 

,, ,, ,, Incubation, 110. 

,, ,, ,, Nest, 109. 

,, ,, ,, Young, no. 

Coot, Medal award for breeding, 225. 
Cordon-bleu, Increase of the cinnamon 
mutation, 115. 

Corncrakes bred, 150. 

Cossypha n. natalensis, Breeding of, 70. 
Cotterell, Sir Richard, Awarded medal, 
224. 

,, ,, Retiring, 190. 

Cranes, Whooping, Increase in number, 
ii 5 - 

Crax, alberti alberti, 124. 

,, ,, daubentoni, 124. 

,, b lumenbachii ,125. 

,, fasciolatafasciolata, 125. 

,, ,, sclateri, 125. 

,, globulosa, 125. 

,, nigra, 124. 

,, pinima, 125. 

,, rubra griscomi, 124. 

,, ,, rubra, 123. 

Curassows, Species ; The keeping and 
breeding of:— 

Banded, 125. 

Columbian. See Prince Albert’s. 
Cozumel, 124. 

Crested, 124. 

Daubenton’s 124. 

Flat-crested. See Nocturnal. 
Galeated, 126. 

Gilliard’s Galeated, 126. 

Globose. See Great Breasted and 
Crested. 

Globulose. See Yarrell’s. 

Greater Crested, 123. 

Greater Razor-billed, 126. 

Lesser Razor-billed, 126. 

Mexican. See Great Crested. 
Nocturnal, 125. 

Pinima, 125. 

Prince Albert’s 124. 

Red Wattled, 125. 

Salvin’s Razor-billed, 126. 

Sclater’s, 125. 

Urumutum. See Nocturnal. 

Yarrell’s 125. 


232 


INDEX 


Cyanolyseus byroni, Probable first breeding, 
109. 

Danish Gage-bird Society medal award, 
46. 

Dunnock, Rufous-breasted, Notes on, 
184. 

Diirer’s engraving “ Adam and Eve ” 
sold, 32. 

Egret, African Cattle, Breeding the, 21, 
222. 

„ „ „ Aviary, 22. 

,, ,, ,, Distribution, 21. 

>> >> >> Egg clutch, 222. 

,, ,, ,, Food, 22, 223. 

,, ,, ,, Incubation period, 22, 222. 

Films :— 

“ Boehm’s birds ”, 224. 

“ Return safari to East Africa, 1963 ”, 
32 . 

“ Wonder of the birds ”, 224. 
Firefinch, Dark, Observations on :— 
Behaviour, Adults, 88. 

„ Young, 96. 

Description, 80. 

Fledglings, 85. 

History of individuals, 80. 

Nestlings, 84. 

,, Mouth markings, 84. 

„ Voice, 97. 

,, ,, Compared with Jameson’s, 

103. 

,, Gouldian, Incorrect vernacular 
name sometimes applied, 116. 

,, Vinaceous, Probable first breeding, 
106. 

,, ,, ,, ,, Medal award, 224. 

,, ,, ,, Nest, 106, 107. 

,, ,, ,, Nestlings, 107. 

,, Zebra, Sex-linked color 
inheritance, 48. 

,, ,, Genetic terminology. 49. 

,, ,, Mutants, 48. 

,, ,, ,, X-linked, 50. 

Flamingoes rescued from Lake Magadi, 
Kenya, 33. 

For pus coelestris , Breeding of, 23. 
Francolin, Natal, Breeding the, 146. 

„ „ „ Aviary, 146. 

,, ,, ,, Description, 146. 

„ „ „ Young, 147. 

,, Red-billed, Breeding the, 72. 

„ „ „ Chicks, 72, 73. 

„ ,, „ Food, 72, 73. 

,, ,, ,, Incubation, 72. 

Goose, Egyptian, Medal award for 
breeding, 74. 

,, Hawaiian, World population, 227. 
Grandala coelicolor, 79. 

Greenbul, Joyful, Breeding the, 170. 


Haematortyx sanguiniceps, Note on, 14. 
Hallstrom, Sir Edward, Honorary Fellow 
of the Zoological Society of London, 
IX 5 * 

Herons, Night, Colony in Scottish Zoo 
Park, 227. 

Honeyeater, White-fronted, Medal award 
for breeding, 74. 

,, Yellow-fronted, Medal award for 
breeding, 74. 

Hoopoe, Thailand, Probable first 
breedings of, 119, 163. 

,, ,, ,, Aviary, 119. 

„ >> 33 Eggs, 120. 

,, ,, ,, Food, 121, 165. 

,, ,, ,, Incubation, 120. 

,, ,, ,, Nest, 119, 165. 

,, ,, ,, Pre-nesting behaviour, 120. 

Hornbill, Yellow-billed, Bred, 116. 
Hybrids :— 

Indian Ring-necked X Moustache 
Parrakeet, 150. 

Mealy X Lesser Redpolls, 227. 

Nun, White-fronted X Finch, Chest- 
nut-breasted, 226. 

Irena p. puella , Breeding of, 18. 

Ispidina picta natalensis , Breeding of, 15. 

Jay, Loo Choo or Lidth’s, Probable first 
breeding, 212. 

„ „ „ Aviary, 212. 

,, „ „ Food, 212. 

,, „ ,, Young, 212. 

Keston Foreign Bird Farm, Breeding 
results, 56. 

Kingfisher, Natal, Breeding the, 15. 

,, ,, ,, Aviary, 16. 

,, ,, ,, Coloration, 15. 

„ „ ,, Fledglings, 17. 

„ „ „ Food, 17. 

,, ,, ,, Incubation period, 17. 

Lagonosticta rubricata haematocephalc , Obser¬ 
vations on, 80. 

Lagonosticta vinacea, Probable first 
breeding, 106. 

Lalocitta lidthi, Probable first breeding, 
212. 

Lendon, Alan, Elected Patron of the 
Avicultural Soc. of S. Australia, 32. 
London Zoo, Awarded Certificate of 
Merit, 114. 

„ „ Notes, 34, 73, 113, 149, 188, 

225. 

Lopez, A., Elected President of the 
Avicultural Soc. of America, 32. 
Lophoceros flavirostris, Bred, 116. 

Lorikeet, Purple-crowned, Bred, 190. 



INDEX 


233 


Lovebird, Red-faced, Breeding the, 39. 

,, ,, ,, Non-success at first attempt, 

39 - 

,, ,, ,, Second attempt, 42. 

„ „ „ >, Eggs, 43 ? 44 - 

„ „ „ „ Food, 42, 43. 

,, ,, ,, ,, Medal award for 

breeding, 46. 

„ „ „ „ Nestling, 44. 

McKechnie, E. R., Awarded medal, 74. 
McKechnie, R. W., Awarded medal, 74. 
Melanoperdix nigra, Note on, 14. 
Mergansers, Hooded, Rearing problems, 
182. 

Mitu mitu, 126. 

,, salvini, 126. 

,, tomentosa, 126. 

Mottershead, G. S., Honorary degree 
conferred, 189. 

,, ,, World tour of zoos, 226. 

Myna, Golden-crested, Breeding the, 216. 
,, ,, ,, ,, Description, 216. 

„ „ „ „ Eggs, 217. 

„ ,, „ „ Food, 217. 

,, ,, ,, ,, Nest, 217* 


Nectarinia famosa , Probable first breeding, 

.158- 

Nielsen, Aage V., Awarded medal, 39. 
Norfolk Wildlife Park, Report on, 10. 
North of England Zoological Society, 
Annual lunch, 190. 

Nothocrax urumutum, 125. 

Obituary :— 

Cecil Stanley Webb, 173. 

David Seth-Smith, 28. 

Onychognathus m. morio, Breeding of, 133. 
Ornamental Pheasant Trust, Annual 
Report, 2. 

Ospreys, Young leave eyrie, 227. 

Otis tarda , Breeding of, 218. 

Parrakeet, Bourke, Unusual nesting site, 
150. 

,, Halfmoon, Left- and right-footed- 
ness, 76. 

,, Malabar, Bred, 150. 

,, Quaker, For sale, 75. 

,, Ring-necked, Breeding results, 33. 
,, Sierra, Bred, 74. 

Parrot, African Grey, Hand-reared, 155. 
„ Mulga, 136. 

,, ,, Description, 136. 

,, ,, Distribution, 137. 

» „ Eggs, 143. 

,, ,, Food, 141, 143. 

,, ,, Hybridization, 144. 

,, ,, Incubation, 143. 

„ ,, Mating, 142. 


Parrot, Mulga, Systematics, 137. 

,, Port Lincoln, 59. 

,, ,, Breeding note, 67. 

,, ,, Description, 5g. 

,, ,, ,, Criticism of, 229. 

,, ,, Distribution, 63. 

,, ,, Eggs, 66. 

,, ,, Food in captivity, 67. 

,, ,, Systematics, 60. 

,, ,, Breeding the, 212. 

,, ,, ,, Pebbles in nest, 213. 

„ „ ,, Young, 213. 

,, Red-capped, 207. 

,, ,, Description, 201. 

,, ,, Distribution, 205. 

» „ Eggs, 209. 

,, ,, Food, 205. 

,, ,, Mating, 208. 

,, ,, Systematics, 202. 

Parrotlet, Celestial, Breeding the, 23. 

,, ,, Behaviour, 23. 

„ „ Cage, 23. 

,, ,, Courtship, 24. 

,, ,, Eggs, 25. 

,, „ Feeding, 24. 

,, ,, Incubation, 24. 

„ „ Nestlings, 25. 

Partridge, Black Wood, Note on, 14. 

,, Crimson-headed Wood, Note on, 14. 
Partridge, W. R., Awarded medals, 224. 
Pauxi pauxi, 126. 

,, ,, gillardi, 126. 

Pavlova, Anna, London home to be 
preserved, 75. 

Pheasants, Exhibited at Sydney Royal 
Show, 169. 

,, Method of keeping, 12, 77. 

,, Toe deformity in chicks, 38. 
Pigeon, Bartlett’s Bleeding-heart, Distri¬ 
bution of, 118. 

,, ,, ,, Egg clutch, 118. 

,, Thick-billed Green, Probable first 
breeding, 146. 

,, ,, ,, ,, Medal award, 224. 

„ „ ,, Aviary, 146. 

,, ,, ,, Food, 146. 

Prunella strophiata, Note on, 104. 

Psephotus varius, Note on, 136. 

Quail, Californian, Popular game bird, 1. 
,, ,, Thrive in captivity, 1. 

,, ,, ,, Diet, 2. 

Quelea quelea, Breeding of, 229. 

Reviews :— 

Australische Sittiche [Australian Parra- 
keets] (H. D. Groen), 35. 

I name this parrot (Arthur A. Prestwich), 
36 . 

Ecology of sea colony birds of the Barents 
Sea (L. O. Belopol’skii), 37. 


234 


INDEX 


Reviews :— 

While some trees stand (Garth Christian), 
37 - 

Birds of the Labrador Peninsula and adja¬ 
cent areas (W. E. Clyde Todd), 116. 

Check-list of birds of the world. Vol. X 
(A continuation of the work of James R. 
Peters. Edited by Ernst Mayr and 
Raymond A. Paynter, Jr.), 117. 

Zebra Finches (C. H. Rogers), 151. 

The book of cage birds (Charles Trevisick), 
! 5 2 * 

The colourful world of birds (Jean Dorst), 
1 53 -. 

The birds of the London area (A Com¬ 
mittee of The London Natural 
History Society), 153. 

The world of birds. A comprehensive guide 
to general ornithology (James Fisher 
and Roger Tory Peterson), 228. 

Instructions to young ornithologists. Birds’’ 
nests and eggs (C. J. O. Harrison), 228. 

Ripley, S. Dillon, Appointed Secretary, 
Smithsonian Institute, 32. 

,, ,, Corresp. member, S. African 

Ornith. Soc., 149. 

Robin, Natal, Breeding the, 70. 

,, ,, ,, Description, 70. 

„ ,, „ Fledglings, 71. 

,, ,, ,, Food, 71. 

,, Pale-vented, Breeding the, 46. 

,, ,, ,, Description, 46. 

» ,, » Eggs, 47. 

„ „ Fledglings, 47. 

Rymill, R. R., Awarded medal, 225. 


Scaly-leg in captive birds, 69. 

Scottish National Zoological Park :— 
Heron Colony, 227. 

Jubilee, 151. 

Penguins presented, 151. 

Screamers, Crested, Uncommon breeding 
of, 226. 

Seedeater, Cayenne, Probable first 
breeding, 11. 

,, ,, ,, ,, Medal award, 224. 

,, ,, ,, Description, 111. 

„ „ „ Eggs, 112. 

,, ,, ,, Food, 112. 

,, ,, ,, Incubation, 112. 

,, ,, ,, Nest, 112. 

„ Young, 112. 

Seth-Smith, David, In memoriam, 28. 
Shellduck, Australian, A clutch of eleven 
hatched, 154. 

Speculipastor bicolor , Probable first 
breeding, 196. 

Sporophila frontalis, Probable first breeding 

in. 

Starling, Magpie, Probable first breeding 
196. 

,, ,, ,, Aviary, 196. 


Starling, Magpie, Eggs, 197. 

„ „ „ Food, 197. 

,, ,, ,, Nest, 197. 

„ „ „ Young, 197. 

,, Red-winged, Breeding the, 133. 

„ „ „ Aviary, 134. 

,, ,, ,, Description, 133. 

j? >> )> Egg, 134* 

„ ,, „ Incubation, 134, 135. 

„ ,, ,, Nestlings, 135. 

,, Shelley’s, Probable first breeding, 
198. 

„ „ „ Aviary, 198. 

,, ,, ,, Chicks, 200. 

„ „ ,, Food, 199. 

Sunbird, Malachite, Probable first 
breeding, 158. 

„ „ „ Aviary, 159. 

,, ,, ,, Chick, 161. 

» „ » Egg, 159. 

,, ,, ,, Food, 160. 

,, Scarlet-chested, Near miss at 
breeding, 166. 

Swallow, Masked Wood, Note on, 186. 
Swan, Black-necked, Breeding the, 154. 
Sydney Royal Show, Pheasants exhibited 
at, 168. 

Tanager, Maroon, Breeding the, 55. 

„ „ „ Aviary, 55. 

„ „ „ Eggs, 55. 

„ „ ,, Food, 55. 

Thomas, Bev., Awarded medal, 32. 
Toucan, Damaged bill nearly normal, 
ii 5 - 

Touracos, Why red-wing feathers are 
wanted, 75. 

Treron curvirostra. Probable first breeding, 
146. 

Turdus fumigatus obsoletus , Breeding of, 46. 

Upopa e. longirostris, Probable first 
breeding of, 119, 163. 

,, ,, Description of species, 163. 

Waterston, G., Appointed O.B.E., 225. 
Waxbill, St. Helena, A cinnamon 
mutation, 115. 

Waxwing, Breeding the, 191. 

,, ,, Courtship, 192. 

,, ,, Diseases, 191. 

„ „ Eggs, 194. 

„ „ Food, 191, 194. 

,, ,, Nest, 192. 

Weaver, Red-billed, Breeding the, 229. 
Webb, C. S., In memoriam, 173. 

West, David, Appointed Secretary, Avi- 
cultural Society of America, 32. 
White-eyes, Indian, At liberty, 27. 
Whitmore, G. E., Medal award, 224. 
Woodpecker, Downy, In captivity, 28. 

Zpsterops palpebrosa. At liberty, 27. 





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Biology • Evolution < 
Distribution Maps • 
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CANDIDATES FOR ELECTION 


Stuart J. Allum, 63 Woodplace Lane, Coulsdon, Surrey. Proposed by W. J. Bourne. 
W. F. Bartlett, 97 King Henry’s Road, London, N.W. 3. Proposed by A. A. 
Prestwich. 

Thomas Brosset, Kjellbergsgatan 4, Gothenburg, Sweden. Proposed by Y. Ejdfors. 
Roger French, Brackenhurst, Rappax Road, Hale, Cheshire. Proposed by A. A. 
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Miss Denzille M. Gillett, 2 St. Pauls Road, Richmond, Surrey. Proposed by 
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Mrs. Sheilah C. Stanton, The Manor House, Boughton Lees, Nr. Ashford, Kent. 
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CHANGES OF ADDRESS 

R. T. Bloom, to Flamingo Park Zoo, Kirby Misperton, Nr. Malton, Yorks, 

M. K. Boorer, to 34 Milton Park, London, N.6. 

Robert S. Constable, to 17929 Kalisher Street, Granada Hills, California, U.S.A. 
Saul C. Corwin, to Wikler, Gottlieb, Stewart and Long, 64 Wall Street, New York, 
New York 10005, U.S.A. 

Frederick A. A. Hansen, to No. 1 Bottle Forest Road, Heathcote, New South Wales, 
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For Sale—Pairs and males—Shovellers, Philippines, Bahamas, Mandarins, 
Carolinas. Wanted, unrelated pair Red-breasted Geese.—Mrs. B. E. T. Michell, 
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